Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Book Review - Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie

Gutenberg's Apprentice: A Novel
Author: Alix Christie

Available now to read on Kindle or in Paperback from March 2015

From the Back:

In the middle of the 15th century, scribe Peter Schoeffer is dismayed to be instructed by his father to give up his beloved profession of illuminating texts in Paris. Instead he is to travel to Mainz in Germany to be apprenticed to Johann Gutenberg, an entrepreneur who has invented a new process for producing books - the printing press. Working in conditions of extreme secrecy, the men employed by Gutenberg daily face new challenges both artistic and physical as they strive to create the new books to the standard required by their master. In a time of huge turmoil in Europe and around the world, Gutenberg is relentless in pursuing his dream and wooing the powerful religious leaders whose support is critical. Peter's resistance to the project slowly dissolves as he sees that, with the guidance of a scribe such as himself, the new Bibles could be as beautiful in their way as the old. Today we can see that beauty in some of our museums, but few know the astonishing tale of ambition, ruthlessness and triumph that lies behind it. 

My Review:

Oh my goodness, a book about books, to me that is just perfect as there is nothing more heartwarming to me than reading a book about books. My past favourite books like that to give you an example are  Inkheart by Cornelia Funke or The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard. So when I saw this book I was over the moon and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was very kindly sent this book to review via Bookbridgr, as you know I am very honest with my reviews and the fact that I got sent this for review does not alter my opinion in any way, shape or form!

OK so I was really excited to read this book, made even more so by the press releases that came with it, I mean they just looked fantastic and really wet my appetite forthis book. So I made myself a nice cup of tea and settled down for what I thought would be an engrossing read, I think I even said to Mr B "please do not disturb". As it was I found the book really dry and hard to get into, I tried on several occassions but it just wasn't doing it for me and for that reason the book took me a lot longer than I thought it was going to read.

I like historical fiction so I was not purturbed by that, what I didn't like was the dyness of it. I admit that we needed (probably) a lot of the political and historical information in order to set the scene and for us to realise what an immense under taking a project like this was at that time, however this could have been delivered in a more palatable way, not in a way that made methink back to the dull history lessons from my school days. There were a lot of historical facts and my brain just switches off to that sort of writing style.

I also felt that some of the character development and interaction was lacking and I feel that this may be due to the historical information that tended to be the focus.

The naration also changed from different perspectives which at times was a little hard to keep track of but interesting nonetheless.

Please don't let me review discourage you, as we all know we are all different and if a book heavily laden with historical facts doesn't phase you then you may well thoroughly enjoy this book.

NB: There is no video review to accompany this review as I just didn't feel like I could add anything extra. Any of the links in this post are not affiliate links. This review is my own personal opionion of the book as an honest review.

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