Monday, November 18, 2013

The Moonstone Readalong - Hittin' the Halfway Point

So I'm a teeny bit late with this mid-way readalong post but I wanted to get to the end of Clack's narration so I could read what everyone has said without worrying about spoilers. Which, I guess shouldn't really need mentioning, but there'll be spoilers for the first 50% of The Moonstone in this post.

Spoiler break dance party!
I took awhile to really get going with this book. I'm not sure if it was simply getting used to the language and style, the content, reading it on my new kindle or even the extremely heightened expectations I have thanks to Wilkie's online appreciation club (i.e.. Laura, Alley, Tika etc), but yeah there was definitely an adjustment period. Which is not to say there wasn't things I loved straight away, because there absolutely was!

Dear old Betteredge! He was so sweet and grumpy and I took to him immediately. It's funny, in the hands of a different writer I might have hated him - his views on women are the kind of thing that usually makes my blood boil even taking into account the "it was the way of their times" excuses. But the only time I didn't love Betteredge was when he was professing his dislike of Detective Cuff, and that's only because Cuff is perfect and can do no wrong (TEAM CUFF 4EVA). But thanks to Wilkie's wit, Betteredge's anti-female posturing usually came off as very funny or unintentionally self-deprecating. Funny and self-deprecating I can work with, funny and self-deprecating I get.

Betteredge was a great way to start the narrative because although he'd get swept up with the detecting fever he was also fiercely loyal to his lady. You know what else he was? Hopelessly in love with Lady Verinder, and it's sad that she died without him serving at her side. I wish we'd had a brief glimpse at the funeral so we could have checked he was alright.

I found it so strange that when the moonstone was stolen everyone was all GET THE POLICE and as soon as it became clear one of them was probably responsible they were like HOW DARE YOU DO THE JOB WE ASKED YOU TO DO. I know Cuff was their as a private detective but guys, that's not how policing works - otherwise how would anyone ever get arrested for murder/thievery/assault? "No sorry, I don't accept your theory and I refuse to allow you to do any policing to prove it. Good day to you sir. I SAID GOOD DAY"

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times - clearly.
Clack was equally delightful as a narrator. As a person she was abhorrent, but I laughed and laughed when she'd hide her books around the house and employ her minions to send letters on her behalf. And when she tried to give the tract to Godfrey's father because he used the word damn? I thought I was going to die.There have been a few films adapted from this book and I might have to hunt them down in the hope that they do that scene! I felt a little bad for her though because 1) it's pretty clear that she's in love with Godfrey, and 2) I'm thinking that Wilkie wasn't a big fan of religious evangelism so she was far more exaggerated than any of the other characters in the book. But I will forever love her for her dedication, her inability of knowing when to keep quiet and the fact that she was in groups with names like "British Ladies Servants Sunday Sweetheart Supervision". And one that had something to do with pants. I never quite got my head around that one!

So onto the mystery? I am so glad I'm reading this on my kindle because if it was a physical book I know I would have skipped to the final few pages and ruined it by now. I am the most impatient at these sorts of books, and while spoilers don't bug me it really is best to get to the twists and reveals when you're supposed to. I was a little confused when it all seemed wrapped up by Cuff 20% of the way into the book. Where was it headed? I have to commend Wilkie for turning this into a much more complicated and character driven story than I was expecting. I also suspect that the moonstone, while central to the plot, is going to end up not so important compared to all of the other secrets everyone seems to have. What did Bruff tell Rachel about Godfrey? What did Franklin do to piss Rachel off so much? What's Rachel been up to, and the servant who committed suicide (and I've forgotten her name already - I'm the worst)? Where is the moonstone? Will we ever find out anything ever?


*To see what I thought about the second half, head here.


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