When I first started out reading Burn, I was intrigued. Historical fiction isn’t all too common in young adult publishing compared to contemporary fiction, fantasy and science fiction. History and fantasy crossing paths? Even less so. But Patrick Ness has an excellent track record of meshing various genres and even defying them, so I expected this one to be a hit as well. It wasn’t but I was still glad that he brought his signature postmodern outlook with a touch of whimsy.
The House of Mountfathom is a difficult book to review. Personally, I didn’t enjoy reading it very much. On some fronts, it felt like things were missing — as though there was supposed to me more. The premise intrigued me but the execution failed to charm. When I looked up the author, I found out this book was published posthumously. He was in his mid-thirties when cancer took his life. Knowing this, I was tempted to rate The House of Mountfathom for its potential but decided not to. That would skew my rating scale against other books I’ve read.
Suspense is essential to propel a plot forward. It’s what fiction is made of as readers want to know, what happens next? An effective way to build suspense is to withhold information, make the reader guess, then reveal things later. That’s exactly what The Invisible Library sought to do. However, that for me, also was the downfall of the book. Too much information was withheld, to the point that there was little for me to hang on to. Instead of wanting to know what would happen next, I found myself asking what the point was.