Review originally published on my here
.Why I Read It:
I received a free un-solicited copy from Random House Canada. I had no idea what it was about, but I thought "Ehh, why not?"
This book was unfortunately a DNF for me. I didn't stop this book because it's a bad book; there was nothing that offended me or angered me or anything like that. There is one thing that really irked me right from the start though: the plethora of POVs and writing styles. We have Francis Crozier, John Franklin and Franklin's wife as the main POVs. But then Fortier decided to get fancy or something because we have a first-person POV from Crozier that's in the form of written letters, then we have a third-person POV with Franklin, then we have Franklin's "reports" of his journey so they're written in the first person, then we have the third-person POV from Franklin's wife, then there was a play?? And it was written like a play and kind of shoved into the narrative. And keep in mind that this is all in the first third of the book. And I was like "Whooaaa, there is way too much going on here."
To make matters worse, I could never differentiate between all the POVs. When I started reading and we had a section that was in the third-person POV from Franklin's perspective, I thought that would be congruent throughout the rest of the book. So when I came across a first-person writing style from Franklin's POV I was confused because I thought that style was being used for Crozier. Again, this wouldn't have been so bad if the voices were different, but they're not. I do think it's worth mentioning though that this book was originally written in French (Fortier is from Quebec) and I'm reading a translation, so maybe some of the language got lost in translation and I'm missing out. But either way, the lack of distinction between the voices kept me from connecting to the characters and I found myself not caring about what they were doing.
Finally, it felt like nothing interesting was happening in this book. Oh, Crozier has become a teacher for the people on the boat. That's nice I guess. Now they've met some natives and they're being racist because that's what people did back then. Franklin's wife is shopping or something. It was all so mundane! This brings me back to the lack of distinction between the characters' voices: if they had more personality or something I might have cared even when they were doing banal things, but they didn't.Final Verdict:
This story just had too many different POVs (sometimes multiple POVs for the same characters), the characters lacked distinctive voices and thus, personality for me to really care about what was happening in the story. In the first 100-150 pages of the story very little actually happens and I might have cared if I cared more for the characters, but I felt distanced from them because of the writing. There was also a weird segment that was written like a play and it honestly felt shoe-horned into the novel. I do want to point out that this novel IS a translation, so maybe I'm missing out on something that was offered in its original language.