Reader Review: The Doll Funeral – Kate Hamer

The Doll Funeral: ★★★

This book was strange. That’s the simplest way to put it frankly. It was confusing and it was weird, but that didn’t necessarily make it bad. No, I rated the book 3 stars, which is better than 2, that’s for sure, but I mainly provided it with the rating due to the way that the book made me feel; disconnected and hazy.

This book wasn’t one that was on my ‘To Be Read’ list – instead, my mom saw it, thought I’d like it because I read too much, and decided to send it to me. It took a month to ship from England to South Africa but only took me 2 days to finish. Admittedly, my attention wasn’t solely focused on the book during that time – it’s not a long novel, it’s not extensive, and it’s not necessarily tough to get through, it’s just difficult to get to grips with at certain points during the narrative. 

Due to the fact that I didn’t know the book even existed prior to getting it in a package, I had no clue what the book was about. I skimmed the blurb but it didn’t necessarily offer all that much more insight into the characters, plot, or premise which was mysterious but it’s something that’s seen so commonly done in book blurbs these days that you can’t tell if the story is actually good or if the author just doesn’t know how to make it sound interesting enough whilst still providing actual information about what the reader may be committing their time to. Alas, a book is a book, so I knew that I was still going to read it, despite being unfamiliar with it and the author in their entireties. 

As I am unfamiliar with the author, I think it’s safe to say that it was her writing style that rather threw me off and caused me to find the book rather hard to actually pay mind to. It’s written in a very specific way and the narrative voice has a very specific tone that, in my mind, actually contradicts the way that you would expect the characters to act in the various situations where they find themselves. Most of the characters are fairly young, though the way they act and their dialogue rather makes you question how old they’re meant to be coming across to the readers. I’m not saying that all characters need to act the same – I’m well aware that different people mature at different rates and carry themselves in independent ways, though I felt like the writing style clashed with the character tropes and personalities that the author was trying to convey.

Again, the book wasn’t bad, but I found my mind wandering continuously as I tried to understand the plot of the book and what it was really about. It doesn’t necessarily give a lot of foresight – it just throws you into a narrative maze and expects you to find your own way out of it, which can be effective if it’s done well enough. Though, in this case, I just found myself confused and ending up with more pointless questions than I had initially begun with. 

Of course, as the novel progresses and the story expands, there are a lot of details that tie into together and provide the reader with a clearer understanding of the story arcs themselves. With the new information, the reader can then make the connections when reviewing back through the book, though I found that none of the ‘plot twists’ were all that off-hand. They didn’t really shock me – the information was revealed at points in the story where the reader had enough information to assume what the story was hinting at but hadn’t outright confirmed just yet. This definitely takes away from the factor of drawing the reader into the story and, in a sense, leaves them feeling like they went through a load of confusion for something that wasn’t necessarily worth it in the end because the story is just rather anti-climatic. 

I didn’t bond with the characters – sure, I experienced a variety of emotions when it came to the different relationships and people featured in the narrative, though there was nothing in the story of substance to actually bond with. I’m speaking from my own experience with reading the book, so other people can largely disagree with me (this is my personal review, after all), though I felt as if there was nothing that you could necessarily hold onto and grip with your hands.

Is it a book that I would read again? Probably not. Is it a book that would’ve been on my ‘To Be Read’ had I discovered it on my own? Again, probably not. But do I regret reading it? Of course not. 

To put it simply: this wasn’t the type of book for me. I love the fantasy genre, and I like the premise of the story, but I don’t think it was executed all that well and I think the characters and story could’ve been developed in a much more effective way. It made me feel disconnected – though not in a good way, just in a way that allowed my already-confused mind to drift. 
Thanks for taking the time to read this short review, and, hey, who knows, maybe I’ll read some of the author’s other works in the future – I’ve definitely heard good things about them. A book not liked doesn’t make the author not liked and definitely doesn’t make them any less of a good writer. Just my review, y’all. 
I’ll write you later. 

If you’re a fan of reading twisty, strange stories with weird characters and a storyline that’s going to confuse you but will draw together in the end, then perhaps give this book a shout. 

If you’re a fan of distinctive and rather off-kilter writing style and voices, then look into this author and this book next time you stumble across it. 
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