10 March 2012

Review: The Flame Alphabet

The Flame Alphabet
The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that starts out strong with a killer idea, but staggers somewhat to the finish line. I make it sound worse than it really is, truly, but I had very high expectations going in that the book didn't quite meet.

The concept is that the speech of children are making adults sick. It quickly becomes a fascinating study of language, of parenting, of religion and intolerance. There's a conspiracy that it's only Jewish families who are involved, there's beliefs that it's speech itself, there are secret groups and breakaway sects, a lot of good things going on here.

The strongest part of the book, however, is really how convincing everything is. I bought into the feelings the characters had about the situation, about each other - the anger, the sadness, the despair. It was all really well done, and for a book that is somewhat literary-minded, it was refreshing to see that as front-and-center as it was as opposed to the concept itself.

Really, a great book I highly recommend. It's probably closer to a 4.5, it moves along really well, and has a lot going for it in a variety of areas.

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