There are some books that seem to completely capture the public’s imagination. They get turned into movies with big stars and games … the whole hog. And yet, somewhere there are a few befuddled readers (like, yours truly) who’re left wondering why the hell the book was ever written!
The Mistress of Spices was one of those for me…
Now, it’s not like it was a bad book, really. In fact it had its moments. I, for instance, loved reading the depiction of all those spices and the personification of them. The basic premise of the novel also is pretty cool, I thought. And yet somewhere along the way things fall apart.
Somehow when I look back at the book I just do not see the story as a cohesive whole. Somehow, somewhere along the way of being an old woman who is the Mistress of Spices (yes, she’s an old woman in the book who looks nothing like Aishwarya Rai. And somehow, I think that was better for dramatic effect) who meets and falls in love/lust with the wrong man, her life just meanders off in every other direction, unfortunately dragging a hapless reader along with it.
It’s not even that the story is entirely unbelievable. I mean many a ridiculous things happen in fantasy novels, it’s OK. And yet there’s something about The Mistress of Spices that’s just improbable even by the standards of the story. And somehow (yes, again) I think it’s in the telling of the tale. I mean, c’mon, I’m as willing as the next person to believe that a little village girl from India gets abducted by pirates (er…) and then becomes their captain and then gets bored of that life and then ends up injured on a strange island where she becomes the Mistress of Spices from where she’s magically sent to New York …. see! It’s believable, right? So, why is it that when I read the book I kept thinking “Oh, c’mon! At least try and make me believe!”
And then there’s Raven who, apart from his name (I mean, Raven, really?), is pretty real. And then, of course, there’s some superhero stuff and some retribution and thus ends the tale. And I’m still thinking seriously?? Sigh… I’d give the book around a umm… a 2/5 … I think!