The Daughters of Mars: A Novel

The Daughters of Mars: A Novel - Thomas Keneally *****SPOILER ALERT*****

I read this recently as a part of my ongoing WW1 phase and came away from the experience thinking, well that was okay. Not great, not bad..just okay. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to connect with the characters in the novel, partly due to the characters themselves and also partly due to the way in which the novel was written i.e without any dialogue tags. I felt this contributed to creating a sense of distance and passivity which I didn't appreciate. I'm used to losing myself in the story, inhabiting characters and being a fly on the wall but I couldn't do any of that here. I felt like I was left hanging, floating above everyone like a ship without a rudder..aimless.

I could appreciate the little twists and turns, the sprinkling of gallows humor, the beautiful writing to be found here and there but I was left untouched through most of it. It just failed to come together for me.

On a final note, the author ends the story with 2 possibilities, 2 alternate realities if you will. I knew before reading the book that this was how he chose to end it, what I didn't know was if it would be at the end of the main body of the story or separate like the extras on a DVD movie. As it turns out, it was the former and he did it in a very subtle and believable way, so subtle in fact that I wasn't aware of what was going on till the very end. The way he chose to end the novel seemed entirely plausible to me, and it didn't seem out of place from the overall theme of the story. If you do pick up this novel, and I'm not saying don't, this shouldn't detract from the possibility of you enjoying it.

I wish I had liked it more but sometimes a book just leaves you that way, it can't be helped. Who knows, maybe someday I might decide to give it another try.