Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Thoughts - The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace

The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace
published 5/7/13
288 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

Helen and Rachel McCallister, who live in a town called Roam, are as different as sisters can be: Helen, older, bitter, and conniving; Rachel, beautiful, na├»ve — and blind. When their parents die suddenly, Rachel has to rely on Helen for everything, but Helen embraces her role in all the wrong ways, convincing Rachel that the world is a dark and dangerous place she couldn't possibly survive on her own... or so Helen believes, until Rachel makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down.

My thoughts -

I predict we will be reading Daniel Wallace's stories for years and years to come. There is a classic universality to his work - it could be anyplace, any time, it's characters anyone. Wallace writes modern-day fables, and I think his work has the staying power of those well-worn, told and re-told stories that always seem familiar and yet somehow manage to surprise us.

This is a melancholy and beautiful story, with characters designed to break your heart. It almost seems as though Wallace started with a question - why do we have to hurt the ones we love? - and then wrote this novel as his answer. This is not the type of story that has a happy ending, and readers will be left feeling each and every moment of Rachel and Helen's poignant last scene.

Wallace is the master of the one, perfect sentence - his writing as a whole is quite good, but he sprinkles his novel with these single lines that completely evoke what he wishes to convey in that moment.

"Her eyes showed her the dark mystery-forest where we get lost in our dreams."

"It was easier for them to pretend she was invisible than it was to pretend she was pretty."

"There is no greater grief than that of a man with a broken heart who only just learned he had a heart at all."

The Kings and Queens of Roam is a somber but immensely rewarding read - do yourself a favor and fall into this world. You will not soon forget it.

Finished - 6/29/13
Source - review copy from publisher via Netgalley - thank you!
MPAA rating - PG-13 for intense adult situations
My rating - 9/10


bermudaonion said...

I started this and set it aside to read a book for my book club. I need to pick it back up again!

Andi said...

Must read! I loved Big Fish and his writing style in general.

Amy said...

yes you are so right about him being the master of the single sentence. I especially love the last one you quoted!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I loved that the ending was sad but also permitted the possibility of happiness. You know? I liked that it imagined a whole alternate version of the story where things went well for them.