[REVIEW] Coleridge – by Tom Deady

*3 out of 5*

Upon receiving a physical copy of this novella, I decided I would give Coleridge a second read (having felt quite a bit of confusion the first time through, several months back with the e-ARC). I rolled on through it over the last twenty-four hours, and I think I did enjoy it more this time. However, the main issues I had on my original read still existed this time as well (though I did figure out one or two things I hadn’t last time).

Coleridge is a novella, and therefore a quick read. You don’t have a lengthy introduction – things get started immediately with Slade’s arrival at Dalia’s shop. It’s not a lot of excitement, but the mystery hooks you with ease. Unfortunately, your interest and investment come to a bit of a halt during the final twenty pages, in which the book decides to raise more questions instead of answers to those you already had. This was incredibly frustrating both times, even if I did understand things better on my second read. I was still left guessing what the conclusion was – I have an idea this time, at least, but who knows if it is correct (included at the end of this, after the spoiler warning) – not to mention the energy seems to vanish for the most part. I don’t know if Tom Deady was going for a Tremblay-esque ending of haunting ambiguity, but it feels muddled.

Ultimately, I did enjoy Coleridge more the second time, but not enough to change its grade. Those last twenty pages are too aggravating. However, I am interested in checking out something else by Tom Deady to see if this story is typical for him or not.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS THE REVIEW I POSTED FROM MY FIRST READING —->

Coleridge is a difficult book to review, because it’s one of those stories that read well, but left me unsatisfied and expecting more. The writing isn’t really the issue; it’s the story. Honestly, it seemed like scenes and explanations were missing. The ending didn’t feel like an ending, the characters didn’t grab hold of me, and the dialogue was misplaced (past sequences read like current-day speech, whereas present sequences read like colonial-day speech). There were memories sprinkled throughout – most of which didn’t feel like they played any role other than to add padding to the word count – and an underwhelming conclusion to it all. I honestly finished the story feeling like I’d missed the point. I didn’t walk away feeling upset for reading it, but I also didn’t feel like I had finished reading it.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS WHAT I ‘THINK’ HAPPENED IN THE END // SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING

This is for those of you who have also read Coleridge and want to compare notes. Here is what I’m guessing happened in the end:

While Dalia is destroying the Trinity Stone, Slade breaks free and leaves the house (though I don’t know why). He then comes back later (once Dalia is away from the patio) to retrieve the main section of stone that remained, take it to the prison where Coleridge is being held, boasts about his taking of the stone to the man, and then mails Coleridge’s death notice to Dalia once he hears the news. I don’t know why he would do things in this manner, but it’s my only guess. Does the stone still function in pieces? Does he need to return to the house at any point (seeing as there was talk of the stone and house being connected)? Did Slade already have some sort of power when he visited Dalia that night (he did show superhuman strength and reaction at times)?

What do you think? Don’t comment, since this would be a spoiler response, but maybe message me?

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