Whichwood (Tahereh Mafi)

7/6/2018

Companion novel to Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi.

I do believe it’s more of a sequel than a companion novel and I’m having a lot of issues with this. I still really love the descriptive nature of Tahereh Mafi’s writing but  dude remember I told you about the narrator voice which addresses the reader directly in the book in my Furthermore review? Yea, that narrator voice is so much more present in this story. And it really affects me and takes me out of the story.

Also I do believe it will be better to read Furthermore before you read Whichwood, although the narrator comes in many times to mention things that happened in Furthermore, I still find those explanations rather confusing if you don’t read Furthermore.

But the plot of Whichwood seems more interesting than Furthermore.

8/6/2018

Scratch that. The plot is so thin.

PLOT: Let’s go through it. In this book we follow Laylee. And Laylee’s job is to care for the dead. A coroner-embalmer-gravedigger-priest all-in-one. Laylee (along with her absent dad) is the only one in her town of Whichwood that can do this job because of her specialised magic. Her dad has gone missing so the poor kid has no time to rest for the dead keep piling up. It’s unfortunate, really. And she’s dying. Alice, who we met in Furthermore, is sent to help Laylee.

Sounds really cool, heart-wrenching, a little spooky even because it is – a kid interacting with the dead. But bruh. I’m at pg 173 out of 360 and there’s a whole lot of nothing happening. I am a plot based reader. This book is a setting based book. The world is everything in this book. The characters are great. I love Laylee. She’s interesting. Alice and Oliver are lovable. Benyamin (who I keep pronouncing as Benjamin because I thought it was spelled Benjyamin) seems eccentric. But the traits of these characters are repeated at every scene and every scene is unnecessarily dragged so that more world can be built. The miscommunication, the blatant lack of communication to introduce more settings and more characters just ain’t working for me man. And there’s so much telling. After the whole place is set-up, instead of any action happening at that place, we’re just told that a conversation took place there and the conclusion of that conversation, and then we move on to another place. I’m tired. I just find building a place in my imagination and then a very short exchange happening there then moving onto another place and then a short exchange and then another place… very exhausting.

And here’s the other thing that’s really bothering me: the head hopping. In Furthermore, we were in Alice’s and Oliver’s head and it wasn’t that hard to follow. In this with Laylee and Benjyamin, each paragraph might be someone else’s head. It’s still clear who’s head we’re in, that part of the writing is fine. There’s no issues with the writing. It’s just my pet peeve how we’re changing with each paragraph. I mean knowing what each character is feeling in a scene is one thing, but I’d prefer we see what someone else thinks of other people’s intentions and feelings. Because then the scene is more explosive. Only if we limit the heads we’re allowed to be in, then we can force the other characters to show how they feel. A more active approach, no? I don’t know. I don’t like staying in people’s heads for so long.

I’m tired.

I’m so close to DNF-ing this book.

Not because it’s bad. The settings are really vivid. And I do love the world. But damn I’m tired.

Are you into worlds? Please read.

Are you into plots? Maybe borrow from the library. Because I still do love Laylee and her perspective.

I’ll DNF this.

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