Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: He has been too many things to count. He has been a dragon with a boy on his back. He has been a scholar, a warrior, a lover, and a thief. He has been dream and dreamer. He has been a god.
But “he” is in fact nothing more than a spark of idea, a character in the mind of Sylvia Harrison, 73, award-winning author of thirty novels over forty years. He has played a part in most of those novels, and in the recesses of her mind, Sylvia has conversed with him for years.
But Sylvia won't live forever, any more than any human does. And he's trapped inside her cave of bone, her hollow of skull. When she dies, so will he.
Now Sylvia is starting a new novel, a fantasy for adult readers, set in Thalia, the Florence-resembling imaginary city that was the setting for a successful YA trilogy she published decades before. Of course he's got a part in it. But he also has a notion. He thinks he knows how he and Sylvia can step off the wheel of mortality altogether. All he has to do is convince her. (Amazon)
When you read the work of a new author, you're about to step into a new and different world. You have no idea what you're in store for, not matter how interesting the synopsis of the story may seem. I find myself feeling both excited and wary, but with as open a mind as I can keep in all situations (which is rather open, I'm always pleasantly surprised to realize).
Before I read Or What You Will, I did not know what metafiction was. It could be that throughout my years as a reader I came across a story that had meta components, but I wasn't aware of it, or didn't look into it further enough to find out. I've always loved that about books, however: you're going to learn something new in each one, about the book or about yourself, even if it's the fact that you've discovered an author whose imagination you now enjoy. And regardless of any other factors, you're going to appreciate the book for that alone.
I certainly do.
I now know that I'm not a fan of metafiction. It's not my cup of tea and I accept that. Despite this, this book is worth the read. Not only is the writing itself fantastic, but the way that you are drawn into the story happens seamlessly. Yes, you're given a lot of information that is mingled in with the narrative—most of it historical details of Florence, which tie in with the rest of the book—and it can be quite a lot to take in. But as history stands, they're fascinating facts that will just make your life richer for knowing, especially if you're a fan of art and European culture; it's intriguing, and it does help in becoming further immersed.
It took me some time to go deep into the novel, but once I did, I did not want to come back up until I'd finished it.
Or What You Will won't be for everyone, but there's a special kind of magic that makes it irresistible to read. After all, as a reader, who doesn't want to explore a story about a fictional character coming to life?