REVIEW by @Fidget78: Auraria by Tim Westover – Release Date 7/10/12 (@timwestover)

Water spirits, moon maidens, haunted pianos, headless revenants, and an invincible terrapin that lives under the mountains. None of these distract James Holtzclaw from his employer’s mission: to turn the fading gold-rush town of Auraria, GA, into a first-class resort and drown its fortunes below a man-made lake. But when Auraria’s peculiar people and problematic ghosts collide with his own rival ambitions, Holtzclaw must decide what he will save and what will be washed away.
Taking its inspiration from a real Georgia ghost town, Auraria is steeped in the folklore of the Southern Appalachians, where the tensions of natural, supernatural and artificial are still alive.

This is probably the hardest review I’ve every written.  Pure Textuality was given an ARC of Auraria by the publisher for a review.
The synopsis caught my attention and I volunteered to read and review Auraria.
Some of the assumed fault lies with me.  First of all, when it said “fading gold-rush town….”, I didn’t think stagecoaches and people still panning for gold.  My fault completely.  Not my favorite genre but still readable.  Just about 15% into the novel, I kept thinking, come on, come on.  I struggled.  It was not holding my attention.  I wanted to skim but as I was writing a review, refused to do so.  
The author has a good writing style and the book is WELL written in terms of vocabulary and grammar.  BUT, it dragged and dragged; and it is too long.  Or maybe it felt too long because it dragged.  I didn’t enjoy the real characters.  I actually liked the non-human people/animals better.  When I can’t identify with the main character, I find reading a novel a chore.  Basically that’s what reading this came down too.  I had promised a review, so I was going to read the whole book no matter what.  There were parts where I was engaged with the storyline but way too few and far between.  I was waiting for the minutiae of detail to have an major impact on the story.  I waited in vain.  Some “beliefs and folklore” played into the story but not all.  Maybe I missed something.  I’m just really not sure.
I am familiar with Southern Folklore.  Some of the happiest times of my life were spent with my grandmother (born: 1899) and she lived in the coal hills of southeastern Kentucky.  Mr. Westover had some great stories in the book but trying to tie them together to make the novel fell a bit flat.  From about 15% to 70%, I was crossing my eyes but then the novel picked up again and I raced to the finish.  
This book is Mr. Westover’s hard work and I want to be very fair.  I respect people with the gift of putting words on paper and letting us share their visions.  I think, and to be clear, I’m a reader not a writer, this novel’s length could be pared down and it might pick up speed.  I’m not an editor so I have no ideas on what to take out or leave in.  
In addition, I have no idea to whom I would recommend this novel.  Some one who likes Southern Folklore with some fiction woven in, maybe.  
I know and understand this novel took a lot of research and work, but my rating is:
2 Stars

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.