Thoughts on THE GIFTS

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing this wonderful Wednesday? Things here are quiet. That’s about it. Luckily, it’s the last Wednesday of the month, so I do have something to ramble about! It’s book review time. This month, I decided a little fantasy might be nice, mixed with a bit of historical fiction which is outside my wheelhouse. The Gifts by Liz Hyder was released yesterday (the 25th) from Sourcebooks Landmark. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it.

The Gifts follows a number of different characters on their journeys until it becomes clear how they all fit together. A woman who doesn’t really know what kind of man her husband is. The husband who doesn’t realize how far he has fallen in his path for righteousness and riches. Two women who lose everything before they can find themselves. And another young woman who follows her heart in an attempt to find her calling. It’s a story of fates intermingling and the strength it takes to look at the world even when you don’t like what you see.

So, I went into this book knowing that it was told from five different perspectives. That’s a lot, but manageable. What I didn’t know was that it’s written in third person omniscient, which means that we get thoughts and feelings from pretty much every character mentioned in this story. I hate this POV because it causes unnecessary confusion and is almost always a cluttered mess. This particular book has a few confusing moments, but it’s fairly good about separating people and their thoughts/feelings. It still seems cluttered, though. If you are wary about this POV, I admit this is one of the better examples of it that I’ve read, but I’m still bitter that I chose something with it. This is definitely a me thing.

For me, the pacing was slow and things were super repetitive. This seems to be a trend in most of the historical fiction I’ve read, so I don’t really know if it’s a pro or a con. I don’t care for it. I wanted to skip a lot of it. Is this something people enjoy? Being told basically the same stuff over and over? And then the ending feels rushed, even though it’s actually nicely paced, because everything else was so slow.

The characters were an interesting mix. I would’ve liked to learn more about Natalya. Her and Mary were my favorites. Annie and Etta came across as too perfect and didn’t really have any room to grow. I was a little annoyed that all the men were douches. Even Richard, though I don’t think he was supposed to be. The only male character with any hope of being a decent human being is Charlie and he’s just a kid. It was weird. I get the book is about tearing down the patriarchy and all that, but there should be at least one likeable dude.

The writing was nice. There were some lovely images and a few lyrical places. And there were grotesque places at times. Even though the book was long and slow, the writing made it a smooth read.

Ultimately, The Gifts wasn’t my cup of tea. Most of my issues with it were me problems, but I liked the writing, so I wouldn’t turn away from another book by Hyder.

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Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2 and a half. If you’re into historical fiction with a little fantasy splashed in, check it out. Otherwise, you’re not missing much.

One thought on “Thoughts on THE GIFTS

  1. Read The Sound & The Fury by William Faulkner.
    It’s like a LSD trip haha
    With all the switching back and forth between characters, mental thoughts and physical expressions. It even has a perspective from a mute, mentally challenged boy at the beginning and other parts of the novel.

    Ulysses’s by James Joyce is something else too.

    Back to work!
    They are keeping me busy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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