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Ilhem

Ilhem

Puzzled

City of Soldiers - Sam Burke

I don't know what to think of this book. I didn't dislike it, I didn't really like it either, yet I didn't find it merely average. In other words, I'm puzzled.

 

I liked how it focused on veterans in a way that didn't sound contrived, how it showed that besides mental or physical injuries and trauma, they are now estranged from their home country, their family, their former self. 

 

I liked the variety of characters and how the story focused on Mickael, Kristian, Sean and Roman, how the relationships they develop explore different bonds and different sexualities.

 

Finally, I liked how all this was tangled with a mystery in a multi-layered story.

 

But I also found it heavy, which is probably not the right word. I don't mean that it was too dark or not light enough; I mean that it was heavy footed. It felt like the story was told in dotted lines, like parts were missing to make it flow. 

 

Also, I didn't get the point of the paranormal side of the story. There is probably a metaphor somewhere that escaped me, but it didn't add anything to the story for me.

 

Finally again, the ending felt like a big let down, the final straw.The problem is not so much a lack of resolution than the fact that nothing is developed enough to even be able to call it an open ending. I left the characters more or less like I had found them, or to be totally honest one tiny step ahead of where I had found them, just when it was beginning to become really interesting. I even checked if this was the first book in a series!

 

It was a good book in many ways, but I would describe it with two words : perplexity and disconnection. Make it three words and add frustration too.