Okay so for anybody who has seen “behind her eyes on Netflix,” that was Piranesi for me but in reverse. Behind her eyes starts out where you think everything is normal, but ends really weird and outlandishly. Piranesi, however, starts out really weird and ends with sensibility. Both of them left me disappointed.
The basic premise is that we have a dude, Piranesi, who lives in a world with only one other living person—the Other. The Other is seeking a Great and Sacred Knowledge, and Piranesi is assisting him. The world consists of several halls of statues, an ocean, and a few other creatures (pretty much just birds and fish). That’s really all you need to know going into it.
I will say that Piranesi did have clues that, after looking back, made the foreshadowing very clear. But after reading the description, and looking at the mythical cover (I really need to stop picking books by their covers), I felt totally mislead. I don’t want to give anything away. The author was smart in not including more info in the blurb, because if you’re going to love this book you have to go in blind. Which, is very unfortunate for those destined to hate it (sorry guys!) But I will say if you’re expecting a mythology inspired or purely wondrous world, don’t get your hopes up. I found Piranesi’s descriptions of his world (and therefore the first half of the book) were extremely bland and by far the worst part of the story.
As there are only really 2 main characters, neither of which were that compelling, that wasn’t really a bright spot of the book either. Piranesi was ok. The Other was more intriguing, but also just ok. I think it’s really hard to create a deep character who doesn’t have much interaction with anything other than their environment, so I’m trying not to be too harsh. By the end, the most I felt for anybody was a slight sense of pity.
The twist was unexpected. But also gave me a “wow I’m really stupid” moment after the reveal. On the other hand, I wasn’t surprised in a good way. It kind of felt like when you read a book about some really Super Interesting and Mysterious Thing happening, only to find out it’s time travel or aliens or something THE EXACT OPPOSITE of mysterious.
Nonetheless, I am taking a deep breath and will refrain from caps-lock screaming for the rest of this review. I totally get why some people love it and some people hate it. Once again I feel my neutral standpoint leaves me a bit in the minority. My advice would be: if you’re at all intrigued by this book, give it a shot. You should know by the 50% mark if it’s for you or not. I wouldn’t discount it any earlier than that, though, because it takes a while for things to really get going. I finished it in one day, so it’s pretty quick if you decide to put it down half way!
Happy Reading (:
Intended Audience: Adult
Content Warnings: (POSSIBLE SPOILERS) murder, kidnapping