Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

The Blood of Flowers
by Anita Amirrezvani

Summary: In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.

Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.
I read this book because it was on a bunch of lists of books supposed to be similar to A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (which I love)...and it was kind of a let down.

It wasn't a bad book and it did keep me entertained for the most part, but I had higher expectations, expecting it to be as good as or have a similar feel to books like A Thousand Splendid Suns and it really didn't, not even close.

A large portion of the book was spent with the character talking about the making of carpets or admiring them or learning how to make them or hearing other characters talking about them...and that may interest some people, but personally, I found it pretty boring. There were quite a lot of stories being told within the story too (like, legends/myths) and while some were interesting, I still didn't particularly want to read those either. It wouldn't have been so bad if other aspects of the story made up for it, like if it had an awesome love story or amazing characters or something, but it didn't.

The story often didn't feel like it was set in 17th Century Iran - I'm not sure if that was because of the writing or whatever, but it just wasn't one of those stories that manages to throw you back in time while you're reading and feel like you're there, in that time, watching the characters.

The plot did keep me interested, in spite of the parts I already mentioned, the whole marriage issue was the most interesting thing in the story and how she dealt with it and how she learned to make her own choices and be independent.

I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable, except one of the minor characters (Homa) - the main character wasn't awful, but I didn't feel particularly connected to her and the other characters seemed very selfish or greedy or weak, and because there wasn't any characters I really latched onto, it was harder to care about what happened to them while reading.

...I'm going to stop this review there, because it seems too negative. I'm pretty sure that my disappointment is mostly due to the expectations I had for the book, rather than the book itself, and because I was looking for another book to wow me like Khaled Hosseini's books did and this one didn't do that - it really isn't a bad book, I just don't think it was particularly good either (it may work better for you than me).

I'd probably rate it 3 stars out of 5 (probably 3.5 if I went into it without expectations). I'm glad I read it, but I'll probably forget that I did within a few days.


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