Author is pretty good at describing people, but not situations or places. It's sort of repetitive. "Tight" is not an adjective that could be used to describe this book.
This book had such promise. Every other chapter describes an object with mystical qualities known to be owned by a famous ancient alchemist. The book begins with the death of a mysterious professor from Estonia in Eastern Europe. A small town reporter, initially seeking only to write an obituary, begins to find more questions than answers. Unfortunately, the author does not follow through on this exciting premise and leaves the reader very unsatisfied. If you are interested in this book, you might want to check out _Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_ by Susanna Clarke.
I acquired this book new in the summer of 2009, but didn't get around to reading it (since the reviews by other members were only "lukewarm") until March of 2011. Once I finally did, however, was I surprised! I liked it a lot. From the outset I was drawn by the author's marvelous writing style. Magnetic is a good word to describe it. The layout of the book with the actual story interrupted thoughout by the historical description of the various items of antiquity along with correspondence of questinable rellevance, makes it somewhat difficult to follow at first, but once the reader comes to grip with the fact that the author apparently has a purpose for doing this, it becomes quite a bit easier. Overall, I'd have to say it was well worth sticking with -- a most enjoyable story.
Strange. Every other chapter is about a newspaper reporter trying to write an obit for a mysterious college professor. The other chapters are wild histories of fantastic mystical objects. Back and forth, back and forth... you're kept wondering why did the guy die and why are we forced to read about certain antiques. I finally gave up on the historical chapters and read about the reporter's journey. Somewhat interesting but the end was disappointing. Boo.
Excellent concept very unevenly executed. The "flashback" chapters that describe the objects in the title's library are creative and fascinating; the "modern day" chapters seemed flat, probably because it was hard for me to take any interest in the main character. I just couldn't relate to him and didn't much like him, even though I wanted to, and the other characters weren't interesting enough to me to make up for him. Didn't finish this book, unfortunately. I had real high hopes for it.