Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Author: Richard Matheson
Publisher: Tor Books
1918. A young American soldier, recently wounded in the Great War, Alex White comes to Gatford to escape his troubled past. The pastoral English village seems the perfect spot to heal his wounded body and soul. True, the neighboring woods are said to be haunted by capricious, even malevolent spirits, but surely those are just old wives’ tales.
A frightening encounter in the forest leads Alex into the arms of Magda Variel, an alluring red-haired widow rumored to be a witch. She warns him to steer clear of the wood and the perilous faerie kingdom it borders, but Alex cannot help himself. Drawn to its verdant mysteries, he finds love, danger…and wonders that will forever change his view of the world.
I'm on the fence about this story. I originally gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, but I have since changed it to 2. I think I needed to sit on this one for a while. For me, Other Kingdoms was just "OK".
What I liked: It was a pleasant rambling story. I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Bronson Pinchot. His voice gave real depth to the characters in the story, particularly Alex, the 82 year old man who is telling his true fairy tale from long ago. I think if I had picked this up in paperback, I wouldn't have finished it. Mr. Pinchot's voice as the old man was what really kept my interest, not the words themselves.
What I didn't like: It was a pleasant story. That's it. I kept waiting for something to happen and it really didn't. The ending was disappointing and left me with an empty feeling. I am a sucker for happy endings, but I have been known to like not-so-happy endings on occasion. I can see the need for them in some stories. That wasn't the case here. I saw no reason for it to end the way it did and felt very let down; like I had gone on this journey with the old man with nothing to show for it. I guess in the end, it is all a matter of preference.
If you are a fan of Richard Matheson, you might like Other Kingdoms. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't recommend it.