A Child Across the Sky – Jonathan Carroll

A_Child_Across_the_Sky_-_Jonathan_Carroll_cover
Answered Prayers #3

A celebrated director is called to wrap up a friend and fellow director’s final project, a horror film.

When I read Voice of Our Shadow, I was disappointed to find it not as good as I remembered. Still, I reminded myself, it was only his second book. I looked forward to the other Carroll books I bought in a batch. A Child Across the Sky was one of the many new ones.

It was with a sinking feeling, then, that I soon realized the book wasn’t particularly good. It’s true that it’s part of a series, and I read it out of sequence, but it’s marketed as a stand-alone book.The story has the usual elements of fantasy and magical realism. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have that much to hold our interest.

The book is broken up by messages from the dead, letters, stories-within-a-story, and other devices, but none of them gripped me. In fact, because the narrative presents some things from two perspectives, I initially found them repetitious, not realizing it was intentional. Once I did, though, I didn’t find the stories any more interesting. They provided color, but a lot of it didn’t add up to much.

In many ways, I found this very similar to Voice of Our Shadow – there are substantial overlaps in approach and plot. That book, however, I found better put together than this, and the ending stronger. Here, while the resolution is uncertain, I found it more vague than intriguing. The writing in general was decent, but the characterizations seemed haphazard, and at times shallow.

All in all, disappointing. Here’s hoping I like the next Carroll book better – I’ve got quite a number left to read.

* As seems to be Open Road Media’s trademark, there were a number of typos and instances of sloppy editing. For a company that seems to focus on serious, ‘literary’ authors, I’d have thought they’d try harder. It doesn’t bode well for the dozen other books I bought from them.

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