I was trawling an old, private journal of mine, and I found this scathing review of Alev Lytle Croutier’s The Palace of Tears. I lol’d so hard at myself (and the book) after re-reading the review that I felt I just had to put it up here for posterity.
The Palace of Tears nearly reduced me to tears. And not the good kind of tears, mind you.
It was so badly-written that I was left wondering why in the hell this crap even got published in the first place. I swear, that is the last time I’m letting a book with a pretty cover trick me (you’d think I should’ve learned that from reading Twilight, but nooooooo).
I can summarize The Palace of Tears‘ entire plot without even thinking: A man named Casimir de Chateauneuf sees a miniature portrait of a girl with one blue eye and one yellow, dreams about her, and gets obsessed about finding her. Chateauneuf leaves his family and attempts to find her. When he does find her, it turns out that she had dreamt of him too. They get married and have seven babies, all with heterochromia just like their mommy.
In the end, kismet just seemed like a failed attempt at justifying the unlikely. Oh, sure, there were a lot of other shenanigans in between – like Chateauneuf befriending the Empress of France and traveling to the East with her; Chateauneuf ‘s friend, Ferdinand de Lesseps, winding up in a romantic relationship with Chateauneuf ‘s mistress; and Lesseps running into Chateauneuf while on a trip to the East with the mistress. But really, that’s just about it for the plot.
There’s a lot of talk about kismet (destiny) in this book, but it just doesn’t justify a lot of the “coincidences” and connections between characters that appear in the book. In the end, all the talk of kismet just seemed like a failed attempt at justifying the unlikely, and that completely and utterly shatters one’s suspension of disbelief. Now I see why my grandmother (see, even my grandmother doesn’t like it) warned me that this isn’t a good book.
I’d give it a zero, but I gave it some credit for being nicely-designed/laid out. I considered giving it a full 1 star, but using Ingres’ Odalisque with a Slave for the cover of a terrible book is sacrilege. So, no.