Monday, September 30, 2013

DNF Explanation: Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Read: 60 of 288
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley

I actually like this book. Kind of a lot. It's moody and totally Gothic with creepy dark undertones, an intriguing world, and gorgeous 19th-century-style writing.

So why in the world did I DNF?

Because it's Wuthering Heights, and I've already read Wuthering Heights, and while I loved Wuthering Heights, I wasn't in the mood to re-read it now.

I know Black Spring is a retelling, so obviously there's going to be some similarities between the two, but much of Black Spring was straight up rewriting Wuthering Heights. Scene for scene, practically line for line.

I'm not sure how I feel about that overall (it seems a little bit like a cop out?), but I'm also the kind of reader who likes reading the same story again and again (like Arthurian stories or fairy tale retellings) so I'm not totally opposed as to not read it on those grounds.

I might have stuck it out if the pacing had been faster. It's slow, slow, slow in a way that only classics can be slow. The first thirty or so pages only set up the "story within a story" where the author makes me follow around a random guy who has no bearing on the actual real story just so he can interact with another character who will tell him (and therefore, me) the real story.

Thirty pages. THIRTY PAGES!

That's not slow, it's tedious.

But it was beautifully written, and intriguing, and dark, and filled with lots of little bits that would have totally made me invested in finding out what in the world was going on here with these creepy, mysterious characters, generational strife, and hints at ghostly goodness...

...if I hadn't already read Wuthering Heights. But since I did, I KNOW what all those things are hinting at, and given how close of a retelling Black Spring was proving to be, I didn't think there would be many surprises in store.

So, DNF. For now.

Bottom line

I have every intention of picking up Black Spring at some point. Every once in a while I get the urge to re-read Wuthering Heights, so maybe next time I get that urge I'll pick up Black Spring instead.

I'm not really sure what Black Spring will have to offer that Wuthering Heights doesn't already fulfill (the witch/wizards bits, while awesome in theory, don't seem to be developed all that much), but I'm curious enough to give it a shot.

Curious about my thoughts on Wuthering Heights?

Do you have any questions about Black Spring that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Have you read Black Spring? What did you think about it? 

Looking for another book like this?
You might like

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews/Goodreads.


  1. I'm a huge fan of WH which is why I've requested this one, but now I'm concerned Smalls! Rewritting the story isn't the same as retelling the story. Something has to be different and now I'm kinda curious to figure it out. Thanks for the heads up on the slow pacing. I'll be sure to pick it up when I've got more time to read it.

    1. Oooh I'll be super curious seeing your opinion given that you love WH. Ugh, totally agree that re-writing is NOT the same as retelling. I think you'll be fine with the slow pacing if you didn't mind the pacing of WH as it's (unsurprisingly!) very similar.

  2. I can't exclaim enough how much I adore your DNF reviews. I've never read Wuthering Heights, so this one would be a brand new story for me. I'm a little put off by the pacing, but slow reads have never detered me before, as long as they are interesting. This one may be something I should consider.

    1. aw, I'm so glad you like them! I'm always conflicted writing them.

      I can see you going either way on this one, but I'm definitely curious to read your opinion if you do decide to pick it up. Just be warned, if it's anything like the original, pretty much all the characters are detestable.

  3. Aww, tedious is pretty bad!! I'm sorry. But yeah, a re-telling that is taking the "scenes I best remember of" and checking out the boxes is not fun at all.

    I hope the next one you read is loads better, this

    1. tedious is bad! :( I think it would have felt less tedious if I didn't already know what was going to happen.

  4. Re-tellings are tricky. I think there needs to be a balance in them and sometimes it is hard to find. Either it is too much of a copy or strays so far from the originial it is hard to see how they can call it a re-telling. Well balanced ones are fun to read though.

    1. Yes, you're exactly right about retellings. It makes me appreciate the ones that hit that balance even more now. I LOVE well balanced retellings.


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