This review may contain some spoilers.
There are some wonderful short story ideas at work here that are sure to satisfy fans of the occult. Dr. Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop is the epicenter of this work, where all of the short story threads begin. A clever idea, linking dark items from the store to each of the stories. However, the book falls short technically and suffers from sinister examples of telling and not showing.
Sharp, fascinating ideas fuel these short stories. There’s a sewing machine that designs you a garment aligned to your destiny, or fertility dolls that can’t be sated. The supplier of these items, the mysterious Dr. Marvelry, is a quirky character whose motives are not entirely apparent, lending him a veil of mysteriousness. Unfortunately, the supporting characters who carry their respective short stories prove difficult to care for.
The authors have chosen an omniscient point of view writing style; I’d have preferred living each short story through the eyes of one character. It would allow me to get closer to that character, and so I’d really care about the stakes that they’re up against. Unfortunately, I remained a spectator only in the hopes of finding out what misfortune would befoul them.
In the technical department, the authors’ reliance on descriptive sentences to tell character emotions grew tired fast. The best writing lets the character actions speak volumes. It’s amazing how such missteps can quickly drain the tension or suspense.
Another round of editing could catch these offenders, and help tighten up this ship because the foundations and pillars are there. I wager a sharp edit would help open the book to appreciation from a wider audience.
As it stands, there is a lot to like about this work, and fans of the genre should be satisfied. I can just see room for this book to be taken up a level, and as a reader that’s a frustrating feeling. I’d be interested in reading a sharper edit down the road if the authors were to tackle it. The book is worth the patience.
This is just one opinion. If you’ve read the book, why not add your own rating below?
* Left feeling distant to characters.
* Tension drained from scenes.