Saturday, December 4, 2010

Daughter of Hounds

When I recently came across Caitlin R. Kiernan's Daughter of Hounds, I thought I'd give it a try.  It wouldn't be the first novel I'd read about changelings (Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child), but while Kiernan's name was familiar to me, I'd never read any of her novels.

The story started off well, with an interesting scene underground in the lair of the ghouls who steal children.  I found myself caught up in the story (that's a good thing) and appreciating Kiernan's prose, including some very nice turns of phrase (another good thing).  But along the way something happened, and I've decided to give up.

I'd always heard that it's best to use profanity and obscenities sparingly in one's writing.  That they can be useful in giving atmosphere to a situation, or conveying details of someone's character (or lack thereof).  But when used more than sparingly, it suggests a lack of skill on the part of the author in establishing atmosphere or character.  I can forgive an author for this but only up to a point.  Kiernan exceeded my tolerance level.  When it gets to the point where every piece of dialogue is laced with this kind of language, it becomes not only annoying and distracting but tiresome.

Midway through Daughter of Hounds, I realized that not only was I tired of the profanity and obscenities, I was also tired of waiting for at least a tidbit of resolution or explanation to what was going on, and I wasn't getting it.  So this one is getting my "abandoned" label.

Postscript:  Donohue's The Stolen Child (rating: 9/10) was an excellent story - interesting, moving, well-constructed, and a pleasure to read (as long as you don't mind sharing a character's profound sadness).  Highly recommended.

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