Book Seventeen of 2014: THE BLACK PELICAN by Vadim Babenko

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They fear it more than death, they desire it above all else – those who are able to imagine it in their dreams. It’s a myth that is no myth. It’s a quest that must be undertaken. It is the Black Pelican. 
When Vitus, driven to the brink by devastating blows, plans his revenge against the entire world, he cannot even imagine what he is getting into. He hits the road and arrives in the strangest of places, the mysterious, rumor-shrouded city of M., to implement his secret plan to kill his longtime enemy, Julian. However, once there, his search for Julian proves futile. Trapped in a complicated muddle, he makes a desperate move, joining a group of fortune-hunting strangers. Together, they delve deep into the ocean dunes that are home to the most fearsome of legends… 
To his shock, the legend – the Black Pelican – turns out to be very real. Finally, the world notices Vitus, offering him a chance to demonstrate his potential. Forced to endure fear, pain, and despair, he discovers an unexpected inner fortitude. He suffers defeat – but he also gains victory by insisting on his own terms despite the humiliation and mockery surrounding him.

There are books and there are conquests. This is a conquest.

Unfortunately, despite all of the glorifying reviews of this book, I’m the only one who did not like it. I found it confusing and could not relate to anything in the book. The writing is convoluted with flashbacks intertwining with present in a confusing mess that makes you forget where the main character was at the start of the flashback. The writing is beautiful, but it takes a bit of time to understand what the author is intending the reader to know. It is definitely not a one day read.

If I could compare books to meals, most books can be a three course or even a fast food meal. This book is a five course meal, with palette cleansing and all. It is not a book for fluff readers. It may even be a difficult book for people who read only the classics. I’m not saying you can’t finish it, I’m just saying it’s a battle to finish it.

I found that the main character didn’t do much of anything for a good part of the book. I also couldn’t understand the relationship of him and the other people, why he was at this city, and why Julian was considered an enemy. There is a profoundness to the book, but I wasn’t able to figure it out on the first read. This is a book that would need to be read slowly and possibly more than once to grasp the intention.

Like I said before, this is not a book for a fluff reader. It is very complex and even merits more time than I could give it on the first go. Perhaps in the next read I will like this book better. For now, I just caution the reader.

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