Fluctuating interest, long slow read

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irezelina Avatar


Thank you BookishFirst, author Hala Alyan, and the publishing company for providing me an advance reading copy of The Arsonists' City. My review is based on the ARC and I did my best to write an honest and unbiased review:

The book started off with a suspenseful scene that captured my attention and made me really want to read the book. The epilogue left so many questions unanswered and I felt like it set the tone and pace of the book. However, as soon as we enter Part I, the pace slowed down and the story veered off in another direction. The only hint that the epilogue and the later chapters were related was Mazna and Idris' names mentioned in both.

I struggled to read through Part I. The detailed descriptions of each child's day and perspective were so dense, I got bored reading it. The conversations sounded natural, but sometimes all that detail is unnecessary especially when it drags on. I kept wondering where the conversation was going, where the character was going and what is the point of all this? Part I was where I kept zoning out, tried rereading the paragraphs, and put down the book to try again later. All I remember from this section is the siblings have a complicated relationship with their parents, they also sorta get along with each other, and each has problems in their own lives.

However in Part II, the story perspective shifts back in time to Mazna's life as a young adult and I was really into the book again. The flow of the story was nice, the content was interesting, and I liked not having to jump between character perspectives. This section didn't drone on about tiny details of day to day stuff. One thing that I was confused about was how some chapters in part two were so short, and yet the last one was sooooo long. Why wasn't that one broken up into pieces, considering there were sections and distinctively different events that could be a chapter of its own? I tend to keep track my reading progress and reading amount by chapters, but that last chapter had me going on and on with no end in sight. I hate having to leave in the middle of a chapter and picking back up in the middle of it, so I think splitting up that last chapter would be helpful.

Now that I'm in Part III and the story goes back to present day with the chapters alternating between the different children's perspectives, I am less looking forward to reading it. I will update my review when I finish the book but as of right now, I think it's going to be a long, slow read. I finished two other books while reading this one because I kept losing interest.