Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma Review

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Others have said it better, but this probably is not objectively a bad book. It was just a bad book for me to read. Things I hate in novels (a brief non-encompassing list): animal death, women treated poorly, children being abused, endings that feel sudden and unfinished. Things this novella contained: all of the above. I think part of the problem was just that I was absolutely not expecting this book to be what it was. It is fantasy only in the absolute lightest sense, and is mostly a bildungsroman following a few years in the life of a young boy named Gideon Belman who has moved with his family to a farm in the shadow of a mountain known as the Orme, and the twisted family drama that plays out there.

What it reminded me of more than anything else was the depressing, nineteenth century gothics that I read a lot of in high school: think Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights. These, too, are objectively triumphs of literature that are reflective of the mood of the time. I just didn’t enjoy them personally. This book is quite relentlessly pessimistic, and the ending felt like a bit of a cop out. The redeeming quality in my mind was the voice of Gideon himself, and his unique and often beautiful way of looking at the world. Otherwise, I didn’t especially feel strongly about the characters, the world, or the plot.

Published by Emma Wolfe

My name is Emma, and I am a Clinical Psychology PhD hopeful doing research in Boston. In my spare time, I am also a book reviewer and blogger. I specialize in science fiction and fantasy, but enjoy genre-bending literature of all kinds. I am also an amateur creative writer; my work has been published in national undergraduate literary magazines such as The Albion Review and the Allegheny Review.

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