Review: The Vintner’s Luck, Elizabeth Knox

I am being awesome at the Graphic Novels Challenge but completely falling down on the other ones.  Women Unbound, nothing since The Group though in fact I suppose I could have used The Opposite House.  Or, hey, Committed!  Actually, Committed totally is one.  I’m going back and editing that post and using Committed for the Women Unbound Challenge.  Time Traveling, couldn’t manage to get anywhere with the Stephen Fry.  And Horns and Halos?  UTTERLY have not read anything for it.  I started and stopped Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, and that is it.

Until now!

The Vintner’s Luck is about a nineteenth-century French vintner (you saw that coming) who once a year meets with an angel called Xas.  Xas is a particular case, a treaty between God and Lucifer, his body signed with the words “Xas can go freely”, and he meets with Sabron each year.  They meet for the first time when Sabron is eighteen and cannot decide whether to get married, and Xas tells him he will be married to the girl the next time they meet.  For angel-type advice?  This is not very good.  Celeste is all crazy in the head.  In spite of this Sobran persists in thinking of Xas as good luck, and they meet every year on the same day and eventually fall in love.  (Sort of.)  (There are complications to this.)

For a while I was struggling to get interested.  The book is organized in chapters for each year, and at first the only thing that happens in each chapter is the meeting between Xas and Sobran.  It’s confusing, and you never know what’s been going on for the rest of the year, and that makes it hard to relate to the characters at the beginning of the book.  Then at the end of the book, there are too many characters (Sobran has a ridiculous number of children; I felt like Emerson talking to Evelyn and Walter), and I had trouble keeping them straight.

Still, in the middle, good stuff happened.  I liked this book more than I can think of nice things to say about it.  I can think of maybe two stars’ worth of good things to say about it (treaty angel was an interesting idea, I liked the relationship that developed oh-so-slowly between Aurora and Xas and Sobran), but in fact I give it three stars.  Which isn’t bad, but I hope for better things subsequently in this challenge.

Other reviews:

Care’s Online Book Club
Fyrefly’s Book Blog
just add books
Libri Touches
A Striped Armchair

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