★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with Himself, and almost feel as if I’ve maybe read a totally different book to all the other 5-star ratings out there. I spent several (literal) months trying to get into the first part of the book, and then another several pushing myself through it in the naive hope that it would pick up and turn out to be a truly stellar read. Instead, I found myself trudging through every page, willing each one to be the last, and faced with the only silver lining in that the writing quality was not bad at all. It was just a terrible plot with some inaccessible characters.
I’m a huge fan of mystery novels, and just this year I discovered a stellar series (curtesy of Maureen Johnson) that crosses ghosts and the supernatural with the mystery genre – I loved it, despite not really expecting too. When I first picked up Himself, I wasn’t aware there was going to be a supernatural element to it, but that didn’t automatically make it a terrible book. As I mentioned above, it took an extreme amount of effort to get into it at all, and I really struggled to stay engaged. The plot (particularly at the start) was dry and seemed to lack a real purpose. This was then complemented by a suite of grey characters, none of whom I managed to form any connection to, and it was these factors combined that made the read so unenjoyable.
Why not a zero star rating? Because there is talent behind the literary issues. Kidd has a great writing quality with which the ideas are portrayed (although there’s a little too much vulgarity at times), and definitely can bring the scenes to life – it’s just those scenes and there sequencing aren’t great conceptually in the first place. Going into the future, I’d not turn down another novel by Kidd (in the hope that the literary style has caught up with the writing), but I don’t think I’d go seeking one out. One half-year trudge through a mystery novel is more than enough for me!
N.B.: This ebook was received from Netgallery in return for a reflective and honest review.