It has taken me about an hour to compose myself after finishing the last few pages of this book. Having heard good things about this book prior to reading it, I was expecting it to be good. It exceeded those expectations.
I was more than a little excited that music inspired this story but admittedly had no idea it would be the very core of it. Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky was a new piece for me. I listened through it several times before opening the book and it succeeded in furthering my excitement. As it turned out, I would need it throughout the book.
The main character, a psychic, Mira drew me in right away. Her sensitivity to people’s emotions manifests in smells, filling the book loads of great imagery. Mira encounters all of the other characters at some point in the story making for comical exchanges (and also intense drama) exactly where they are needed. As a superfan and geeky gal I appreciated all the nods to classic geektastic things like Star Wars, Doctor Who, Classic Rock, etc. The dance between what happens between reality and the psychic plane was beautifully done.
Mira comes to Charlotte, NC (as a fellow local, it was pretty cool to read places I actually recognized) to help the Faircloth family, Anthony in particular. He has withdrawn into himself and can no longer be reached via normal avenues (as his psychologist Dr. Archer can attest to). With skepticism all around her Mira intuitively eases herself into what she would later find to be the brightest and most creative mind she has come into contact with.
Set to the melodies of Pictures at an Exhibition itself, Mira must walk the halls of Anthony’s mind, wherein lies wonder, beauty, mystery and suspense. The Mussorgsky Riddle is a tale like nothing I have ever read and if had not had to be a responsible adult (and work), I could have easily let it take me away in one sitting. I highly recommend it to those who have the ability to let their imaginations and curiosity take them to new heights (and depths).
** Listening to Mussorgsky’s work enhanced the story in such a way that it came off the pages. When I listen to each movement from now on, I will fondly revisit Anthony’s mindpalace and all the characters to be met there…Especially Tunny, the loveable gnome who reminded me of Hoggle from Labyrinth ;)**
CC’s take away…(or, my less polished ramblings)
-Mussorgsky. I have been getting back into classical music over the last several years and I couldn’t be more grateful to add this to my musical library. There is no way to describe how amazing it was to be listening to each song the book mentioned and what it represented. A book with a soundtrack…brilliant!
– The story development blew me away. I had been looking for something different and boy did I find it. There is SO much going on but it never got confusing for me nor was it for one second predictable. I almost want to re read it right now.
-Mira, Anthony, Caroline, Baba Yaga…hell, all of the characters were incredible. The range of emotion each evoked…gahhhhhhhh! So good!
-I had to sing “Never Had a Friend Like Me” from Alladin every time I read Scheherazade just be sure I was pronouncing it correctly in my head.
-I smiled to myself when Earl Grey (my favorite tea) was served by Hartmann the Cart Man.
-I haven’t sketched since high school but I find myself wanting to recreate how each character looks to me (inspiring right?)
-The story was left with many directions to go in and I can honestly say that I hope an entire series is made out of the characters in this book
Excellent job Darin Kennedy!
Did any of you read it? You should!!! Let’s talk about it, I am dying to!!!