(...but she's a better writer than she is a storyteller at this point in her career.)
This is my third Haven Kimmel novel in a row. (Next up, 'The Used World'.) It's been a wonderful experience so far...if uneven.
There are consistent themes in her books. Hyper-intelligence (not so much an issue this time 'round, mostly peppered from her mother, then towards the end), The Lost Male (here a father, not a brother), and a displaced/fragmented/dysfunctional female lead (in this instance, probably the least investigated of the three I've encountered so far.)
And once again, there's Ms Kimmel's approach to telling a story...or to 'storytelling'. Which, as a writer, I can't take issue with; each of us has the right to tell our tales as we see fit. But as a reader, I alway reserve the right to feedback to the 'chef'.
''Something Rising' was at a steady velocity heading towards 'Messville'. It would have been a charming mess, but a mess nonetheless. Not much hung together. (Which is why I've rated it as I have.) But then...
...then she actually takes up the cause of telling the story, and things get so much more enjoyable, so much less obtuse (never mind abstruse), once she finally decides to let all the stark, anti-storytelling stuff go.
The funny thing is that this is the second novel in a row for me (the first being her début) where she suddenly races towards an actual ending for the tale, ignoring the fact that a ton has been ignored, denied, or otherwise forgotten in the effort. It's maddening in a way, but really, comes down to her clearly being willful, wanting to buck expecations (I would expect no less from someone with so enormous a brain...and talent), and so I can forgive her. However, I'd pay to see her in another mode, in 'full storytelling garb' to the tune of a densely-rendered 400-page tale. But that's just me.
I can't say as a writer that I'd have wanted my name on this one, but I'm glad she wrote it, glad I read it. In the end.
(Oh, and the unexpected tie-in was delicious!)
Personal rating: 7/10