Monday, August 13, 2012

Auraria by Tim Westover

Title: Auraria
Author: Tim Westover
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Length: 398 pages

The first sentence of this novel gave me high hopes: "Holtzclaw hadn't heard of Auraria until his employer sent him to destroy it." And for the first chunk of the story, it lived up to those hopes. Holtzclaw has been sent to the small town of Auraria to buy the land from the people living there, so that his employer can develop there. As he visits the various landowners and attempts to convince them to sell, he meets some very strange characters, and sees some even stranger things. And the whole thing is presented in this very matter-of-fact sort of way, that I really enjoyed. I think that's what really made it feel like Alice in Wonderland (which is the comparison everyone seems to be making).

However, after a while, Holtzclaw and his boss, Shadburn, have built a hotel, and a good portion of the book is basically them running this hotel and desperately trying to make any money from it. I found this part to be a lot less entertaining than when he was meeting ghosts and being shown broken springhouses that were letting out the cold air and freezing sections of land.

Thankfully, I enjoyed the ending, so it brought me back around to having positive feelings about the book. And throughout it all, Princess Trahlyta is the most delightful character, far more likable than Holtzclaw and especially Shadburn, so I found myself just wanting everything to go her way. I'm not entirely sure if I was supposed to feel that way or not.

3 stars.

Full disclosure: Free e-book copy received from the publisher through NetGalley.


  1. I didn't even know this book existed. I agree that the first sentence was a hook. Too bad about the rest. I'll put it in the pile, but I can't promise I'll ever get to it.

    1. Yeah, the beginning of this book was so good. Like I said, the beginning and end were both good enough that I have overall positive feelings; it was just the middle that fell a bit flat for me.