Saturday, September 6, 2014
Book Review: A Parallel Path- Marco Peel
The Juicy Stuff:
Nasty. Named Nastasha after her Russian grandmother, it was her Spanish grandfather who gave her the nickname. To him it was no more than a doting diminutive, and the name stuck. She liked it. Probably because her father hated it. Barely 17, she has just finished a difficult school year to start off her vacation with a black eye that suits her mood. But that's only the beginning. Waking up naked next to someone she barely knows after a first night out in Paris of which she can't remember a thing, she realises she's been tricked and treated, and has lost something she can never recover. And it's not just her blasted shoes. Confused, she runs away, drifting through a series of strange events and encounters onto the old pilgrim's path from Arles to Santiago de Compostela, a 1500 kilometre hike. Yet while walking brings peace and helps her forget, she is hounded by dark dreams of a near future, and frightening visions from some distant past.
1348. Fleeing Rome with his father after Cola di Rienzo's revolution, promising freedom and justice for all, collapses in heaps of blood and dust, Dominic is the first to come down with the plague in Genoa. Waking up to find himself alone, he pushes on out of inertia to the Papal Court in Avignon, where he stays on to help out at the infirmary as the shroud of the Black Death catches up. In the wake of the scourge, Dominic feels increasingly lost in a world changed beyond belief. Blaming himself for his father's death, he sets off as soon as he can to Santiago de Compostela, where his mother abandoned him at birth 13 years ago, in the hope of finding out who she was, who he is, and where he belongs.
What starts off as a vague distraction for both, becomes a pilgrimage to their very soul, that will change the way they see the world and themselves. Though centuries apart, they share more than their unusual choice to go barefoot. More, in fact, than they may wish to find out...
How It Made Me Feel:
As a word, frustrated. It was very hard for me to get into this book from the get go. I was easily confused and at times, felt like the words were just rambling on, without a specific goal in sight. But as I kept reading, parts of it straightened out. I great enjoyed reading Nasty's portion of the story. She was easy for me to relate to and I found her travels and experiences entertaining. She is a well-rounded character who was easy to read.
What I Thought Worked:
I greatly enjoyed the buildup of Nasty's character. I enjoyed seeing the places she went and the people she met.
What I Thought Didn't Work:
I was not able to get into Dominic's story as easily. I found it a bit confusing at times, especially in the beginning, when referencing the Catholic church and the Father's.
Why It Got That Rating:
I found, after finishing the book, that I only really enjoyed Nasty's journey. There were parts of Dominic's journey I liked, but not enough to enjoy the whole book. I was too easily confused.
Who Would I Recommend To:
I would recommend to someone who enjoys European Historical Fiction or someone who enjoys stories with parallel character paths.
Wasn't a horrible book overall, I just found it difficult to get in to.