Venus in Copper – A Book Review

Published Categorised as Writings, Book Reviews
Venus in Copper front cover.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Venus in Copper

by Lindsey Davis

Because of holds and such, I’m reading the series backwards from book four (thankfully, I was able to read book one first when it came off hold unexpectedly quickly). It’s a little disorienting, but it’s kind of interesting to read a “prequel” to the book I’ve just read. I’m finding it easier to determine where the story is in time. The maps continue to be too blurry to be of much use. I’m not sure why the publisher was so loath to use a decent resolution. I mean, who cares if someone copies it. The point is for the reader to be able to use it, and the map isn’t usable.

My other quibble continues to be the diction. Someone suggested that Davis wanted to blend British with ancient Roman life. When I next picked up the ebook, I read from that perspective. I wasn’t quite as bothered by the Britishisms — until I got to “fruit.” About two-thirds or three-quarters of the way through the ebook, Falco begins to use “fruit.” Huh? It took me a few more pages to realize this was supposed to be a term of endearment. Maybe the author put a placeholder there for endearments and she and the editor forgot to replace it with “peach” or “lass” or something similar. I don’t know. But it read like a rock thrown near you, distracting me from the story.

Otherwise, this novel did the trick of taking me out of the pandemic crap that’s erupting all around us. Falco has a light perspective that takes the sting out of some serious stuff. Characterizations are nuanced. And best of all, the mystery is like a knot of several ropes twisting and entwining, and you have to keep reminding yourself of what the core mystery is.

My imagery really helped with this. Visualizing and doing a better job of verbalizing the book, even when I was super tired and wanted to just read without conscious effort (I haven’t yet achieved full automaticity in reading comprehension), really helped me in the last quarter of the novel as I could see my way to untying all the ropes and seeing their ends. I came close to solving it, but I did see the final final answer chapters before. Heh.

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