A non-spoilery review.
I was excited to read the newest novel by Elizabeth Kostova, who published The Historian in 2005. I enjoyed the story a lot and at times I didn’t want to stop reading. In fact, The Swan Thieves became my bedtime reading novel, which I haven’t done in months so that must be a good sign. However, I did find some issues with the voice and characters.
The main character and narrator is male, but it took me a few chapters to really believe it 100%. In fact, I misread a sentence so I mistakenly believed that someone called him by a woman’s name, and I thought, “Oh good! It makes sense!” And then I realized that I had read the sentence wrong and that his name is actually Andrew. I thought the narration was very good, but it was difficult to remember the gender of the narrator at times. And in this case, the gender was important because of the romance elements.
I was at first put off by the idea that some of the chapters were narrated by women, mainly because I find it hard to switch from narrator to narrator when I’m putting so much emotional effort into understanding the first narrator and trying to think in a male voice. I ended up really enjoying them though, and I think it helped that they were women’s voices.
The mystery element was good, and I was very satisfied once the big reveal happened. Throughout the novel, there was an almost supernatural (but not scary) feel to the mystery, which was the big hook for me. As well, painters and painting were very important to the plot, and I liked reading about the idea of beauty and artistic processes.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, but not a stunning work.