Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: The Astrologer's Daughter by Rebecca Lim

Title: The Astrologer's Daughter
Author: Rebecca Lim
Publisher: Text Publishing
Published Date: 9 June 2015 (previously 23 July 2014)
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

I received this book through NetGalley from Text Publishing for review.

My mother always called it the eventuality. Not the maybe, or the probably. ‘It’s going to happen,’ she would tell me calmly. ‘I even know when. It’s a twist in my stars. It’s written there, and we have to accept it. My mother, Joanne Nielsen Crowe. She has a name, she’s not a was.

Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked. Now she is missing. The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid.

But Avicenna has inherited her mother’s gift. Finding an unlikely ally in the brooding Simon Thorn, she begins to piece together the mystery. And when she uncovers a link between Joanne’s disappearance and a cold-case murder, Avicenna is led deep into the city’s dark and seedy underbelly, unaware how far she is placing her own life in danger.

Pulse-racing and terrifyingly real, The Astrologer’s Daughter is a stunning, original novel. It will test your belief in destiny and the endurance of love.
(summary from Goodreads)

The Astrologer's Daughter is a mystery that leaves you as twisted up as its plot. 

I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing, and this is pretty much my whole feeling about The Astrologer's Daughter. Did I like it or not? Not the sort of question I should start a review with, but here's hoping I've come to a more coherent conclusion as I write. There is a lot going on throughout The Astrologer's Daughter and in the beginning it's quite confusing. It's all kind of a mess, but as Avicenna herself is, it's a purposeful mess. Add in the astrology and often I found myself a little lost. I just wasn't sure what to make of this book.

It didn't help that I had trouble connecting to Avicenna. I couldn't quite relate to her enough and sometimes her attitude didn't sit well with me. I couldn't always reconcile her actions with the situation she found herself in. But what grew on me was the emotions Lim evokes. As Avicenna is tossed from one thing to another, it's obvious how affected she is and you can't help but at least feel for her. I liked Avicenna well enough by the end, as I did Simon, Boon and Wurbik, and I was touched by their relationships, but I still never developed that connection with the characters that I think is necessary to truly love a book.

There's something about Lim's writing, her world building, that keeps you intrigued. There's an earnestness and an insight to her writing that ultimately resonates. The Astrologer's Daughter is a story where everything is connected. Every person, every action, has a purpose and an effect, and it's this depth that I enjoyed the most. I found myself enthralled as things came together, as these connections were revealed. The book takes a much darker and sinister turn as it continues, and at times it's truly terrifying. I applaud Lim for creating a mystery that kept me guessing. Even though she maybe took it a little too far. That ending! It's not tied in a neat little bow and this is where my uncertainty regarding my final thoughts about this book come back into play. I'm dissatisfied with the ending. There's a tiny part of me that appreciates it, because it does work when I really consider it, but the bigger part of me can't help feeling disappointed that I went through all of everything The Astrologer's Daughter is, just for that ending. Why did you do this to me, Rebecca Lim, why?!

The Astrologer's Daughter is an original read with a great mystery and writing that is all at once bizarre and compelling. With so much to it's story I couldn't connect the way I would've liked, but still recommend you try this one for yourself.



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