Review

Review: The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar

 

18309415.jpg3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I somehow managed to avoid hearing anything about this book until it turned up on my doorstep. But once I’d learnt a little about it, I thought it sounded fascinating – superheroes and an alternate history, a particularly apt book considering I’m reading all the Marvel comics I can get my hands on at the moment. Plus that cover – how amazing is it?! Now I have to admit I’m really not a fan of World War stories, but I was excited about reading this one due to it being an alternate history.

The story follows two superheroes, known as Oblivion and Fogg, their respective powers being able to obliterate anything, and produce and manipulate fog. Apparently people with these sorts of powers have been used to protect the world for centuries, and much of Fogg and Oblivion’s story takes place during and around World War II. I love the idea of people with these superhuman powers being recruited by the government and military, as part of special ops. However, the book frequently skipped between different locations and time periods which was, in some places, a little confusing – especially because these chapters were often only a page in length. Whilst it kept the story moving at a really fast pace, it also felt like there was no time to take things in.

Whilst it has such positive reviews on Goodreads, it just did not live up to that expectation for me. I can see why people love it – personally I really enjoyed the story. It was mostly just the writing style that really didn’t click. Written in present third person, without speech marks, and often using short, clipped sentences that forgo pronouns and names, I just didn’t like it. Sometimes it felt like every non-essential word was just dropped from a sentence.

But it’s not all doom and gloom in this review! Despite what it may seem, I DID enjoy this book. I loved the concept and the story (despite probably missing a few elements due to the pace) – it was just the writing style that really dragged the rating down for me. I found it difficult at times, and it just didn’t seem to flow. I don’t know why, but because of the setting (and perhaps the cover?), as well as the lack of speech marks, I was imagining the book as some black and white foreign film in my head, with subtitles – which was pretty fun! The way that Lavie Tidhar played on actual historical events was really clever.

Overall, a brilliant story for all fans of superheroes and alternate histories, but sadly told in a style that I just did not get along with.

 

I have passed my copy of the book on to Amber as she was super excited to read this one, so look out for her review!

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6 thoughts on “Review: The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar”

  1. I skimmed this review to make sure I didn’t get put off (I’m impressionable, leave me alone) but whatever, I’M STILL EXCITED. Mostly for the historical stuff, obviously. YASSS. Thanks again for sending me the book <333

    1. I’m the same! I read a book and love it, then read bad reviews and think ‘oh… yeah they’re right, this bit wasn’t so good’ – which annoys me because I need my OWN opinion!

      No problem, I hope you enjoy it more than me! šŸ˜€

  2. Awesome stuff. I’m psyched to read this, too.
    Have you read his last novel ‘Osama’, it’s this very weird, meta-/inter-textual noir thing that dabbles in alternate history. Trippy as hell, but really,really good. šŸ™‚

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