Re: Vellum

I finished Vellum, by Hal Duncan, but I can’t say I read it. I was drawn in by the discovery of the Book of All Hours where all the worlds and everything that happens in them is written on its pages. I loved the introduction of Innana’s reincarnation and the telling of her descent into the land of the dead. And then we find out there’s an eternal battle between the Covenant and the Sovereigns and you get the idea that you’re automatically supposed to think the idea of The War In The Heavens is cool.

At least the characters are trying to resist enlistment in the war, but I never warmed to any of them, or even understood them. They’re all achetypes and barely people. Meanwhile, the story cycles through their various incarnation, going faster and faster through a Mixmaster of narrative. Or it would be a narrative if you could discern any sense of progression as things seem to happen over and over. I was reluctant to give up on the book because I liked the beginning, but it didn’t make any more sense at 450 pages than at 150. Instead, I gave up on making sense of it and skimmed, looking for enjoyable vignettes, which became fewer and fewer, and still I plowed onward, sighing aloud at its growing tediousness.

It left me with the feeling that there’s a good story buried in there, but my tiny little brain doesn’t have a big enough shovel. Not for me.