Reading: Lost Acre
This is the third in the Rotherweird trilogy by Andrew Caldecott, and continues the story of the first two.
What follows is largely negative, and that's a shame. All three books are entertaining, deeply original, and well worth your time and money.
The problems is that all three books in the Rotherweird trilogy have confusing, overly complicated plots that don't pay off, or at least, not as much as their complexity deserves. Lost Acre is not worse than the others. It's rather that with the culmination of the series, any hope of a brighter conclusion is lost.
It's definitely possible that I'm not an attentive enough reader. I read fiction mostly in bed, and from comparing notes with my wife about, say, murder mysteries, I elide a lot of physical details from my imagination.
But, I'm going to go out on a limb and blame the author for this one. A little more hand-holding would have been just fine.
Lost Acre also introduces at least one new character in a book already crowded with them. The character wasn't foreshadowed, and didn't have any thematic resonance that I could detect, so I was a little bit baffled as to why Caldecott thought this already busy book needed more in it.
Also, I don't think his cryptic crossword puzzles are very good.
These criticisms are coming from a place of love. When trying to describe the Rotherweird books I genuinely struggle, and end up saying something like "it's like Gormenghast crossed with Miss Marple and the Claremont/Davis Excalibur run". These are all good things, and it's a testament to Caldecott's skill that he's made something coherent and delightful out of such disparate ingredients.
Give them a read.