Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review: Swoon by Nina Malkin

Eventually all stories must be told. People simply aren’t built to hold them in. …. [It’s a] matter of finding the right person to tell it to. Since a story, even a sad one, is a gift.” (p. 417-418, ARC edition – may vary from the final published version.)

It may seem odd that I’m starting this review with a quote from the second to last chapter of the novel. And although the quote refers to a minor subplot, the truth of it really resonated with me and sums up my feelings about this superbly written book about impossible love and unimaginable loss.

But basic plot before I go any further – NYC transplant Candice (known as Dice in the nickname-loving, cookie-cutter Connecticut community of Swoon) meets 18th century transplant Sinclair (known as Sin, because he sins with abandon and causes others to sin as well) when he possesses the body of her hot but prissy cousin Penelope (known as Pen because …err… elope would sound weird?). Sin was strung-up by Swoon’s denizens’ snobby ancestors, so he’s out to get revenge. Only Dice is aware of what he’s capable of, but swept up in the spell of his charm, she’s very reluctant to stop him…

I really did feel like this story is a gift – and judging by the polarizing reviews on GoodReads and across the blogosphere – it’s one that’s not right for everyone. I can understand that some readers are turned off by the all “lustful” scenes Sin leaves in his wake, but these are strictly dreamlike in quality (think Patrick Susskind’s THE PERFUME), and in no way explicit or eyeball scalding.

Ok, I’ll allow that the paranormal plot is rather convoluted and does tend to meander at times, but the writing is so stellar, I honestly didn't mind the detours. I took a week to read this, not only because I had only stolen moments to devote to it, but also because I wanted to savor Malkin’s delicious turns of phrase. The story is told in first person, and Dice is so wry in her observations and so conflicted in her loyalties and desires I found myself identifying with her (despite our differences). I don’t know…maybe you have to have a certain maturity level (and I'm not talking about age, though this is more appropriate for older teens), and/or a certain familiarity with tragedy, to really connect with this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and not only will it stay on my shelf, I know I’ll go back and read passages from it again and again.

SWOON was released last week in hardcover. Visit the author at http://www.ninamalkin.com/

33 comments:

deltay said...

Hmm. Yeah, I've been seeing a lot of mixed reviews for SWOON.

But hey, if Presenting Lenore says it's something she'll read again and again... maybe I will have to check it out after all. And I totally agree - sometimes if the writing is powerful enough to over-ride other lacking elements...

Anyway, awesome review =)

Amy said...

Wow this sounds really good. I just really love that quote! I'll probably check it out.

mstohl said...

great quote! now i'm going to have to add this to my list...

sarahcross said...

Polarizing is right! But that can work in a book's favor; it was a negative review that initially made me *want* to read this book. I'm so glad you liked it, because I'm really looking forward to it!

The Story Siren said...

I have to say I couldn't agree more. Fantastic review, I think your adoration was well displayed!

~The Book Pixie said...

Great review! I'm really looking forward to reading this book!

Silvia said...

My copy in its way to me. I can't wait to read this one!

Jen said...

I've seen a lot of mixed reviews but you make it sound beautiful!

Doret said...

Nice review I actually starting to appreciate mixed reviews. Sometimes when I pick up a book that bloggers have but raving about my expectations are too high and the book just can't live up them. Its like finally seeing that movie everyone couldn't stop talking about. When its over your like thats it, I don't get the big deal.

Angiegirl said...

Thanks for the honest review. I'm definitely picking this one up.

Steph Su said...

I've been waiting for you to post your review for Swoon, since you've been raving about it on Twitter (I'm not a stalker... *shifty eyes*). Mixed reviews are the best: now I want to check it out for myself. Thanks, Lenore!

Literary Feline said...

That is a telling quote, Lenore. It has me curious, even before I read your review. This sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for the great review.

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this, but I'm not sure it's right for me.

BookChic said...

Great review! I hope to be reading this soon! :)

robin_titan said...

awesome review! It seems even more interesting to me now haha I'll have to pick it up. :D

MichieBee said...

That quote alone has made me want to review this. Great review!

Fantastic Book Review said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it b/c I love her writing style.

Charley said...

Lustful scenes? I'm intrigued! I don't plan on reading this book, but I might just have to flip through it.

Reader Rabbit said...

yay you got your review up :)

Amelia said...

Swoon sounds like a really good book. Thanks for reviewing!

Belle said...

Great review. It's an interesting storyline. Beautiful writing and a compelling story grab me every time.

Insert Book Title said...

I want to read this one so badly! I am so glad you liked it!

Melissa said...

Great review. I definitely want to give it a try... Glad you enjoyed it so much!

ReaderGirl said...

Sounds like a great book I wants it! :P

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for this, it sells me on wanting to read it. (Whether that means I actually will get around to reading it is, of course, another matter!) I do love the quote you picked out.

Christina Farley said...

Great book review. Interesting about the plot meandering. But I agree. If the writing is amazing, I'm happy to wander.

Melanie said...

I've been vacillating whether to read this book or not. I think I'm going to have to pick this up.

Eli said...

I almost bought this book last Saturday! Now I wish I had. Well, it certainly is on my next list.

Melissa Walker said...

I'm so going to read this soon! Can't wait!

Joanne said...

Awesome review! This sounds like a great read, adding it to my TBR list now :) It feels like this summer is gonna be all about the YA reading for me!

Alexa said...

I think I'd have had to read this purely for the name, it's so great!

Your review has definitely bumped it up my TBR list though - thanks :)

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm not 100% certain about this one but I can't help but think it might be a good! "Eyeball scalding"? Well that's any icky description lol.

The Book Girl said...

The books that you want to read again and again are always some of my favorites. It sounds like this one will be staying with you, both physically and mentally :-). Now I am even more excited to read this one! It's being moved to the next in line spot in the TBR pile. Thanks!