Sunday 31 July 2011

Review: The Dervish House - Ian McDonald

Genre: Sci-fi/fiction
Pages: 576, PB
Published: July 14th 2011 Golllancz

It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone it seems is after a piece of Turkey. But the shockwaves from this random act of 21st century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square. Welcome to the world of The Dervish House; the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027 and Turkey is about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its accession to the European Union; a Europe that now runs from the Arran Islands to Ararat. Population pushing one hundred million, Istanbul swollen to fifteen million; Turkey is the largest, most populous and most diverse nation in the EU, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. It's a boom economy, the sweatshop of Europe, the bazaar of central Asia, the key to the immense gas wealth of Russia and Central Asia. The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, three interconnected story strands, one central common core--the eponymous dervish house, a character in itself--that pins all these players together in a weave of intrigue, conflict, drama and a ticking clock of a thriller.

My thoughts:
I do not know how to review this book because it was so well-written, and the imagination of it all, and the knowledge of the city showed that he really had aspired to learn as much as much as he could. And even if I liked it, it was still too confusing for me to really get lost in it.

There is so much going on, and there are a lot of characters.  Adnan is a trader with a get rich scheme with his buddies. His wife Ayse owns a gallery and buys religious art. She is hired to find the mellified man, a man who became honey after his death (do not get me started, it has to do with how he lived on honey and became mummified.) Georgios, an old Greek who is a professor in Economics, Can who is nine and who with his robots uncovers a terrorist plot and won't let go. Leyla who wants a job in marketing and later has to hunt something down for her new job. Necdet who after being caught in a suicide bombing starts seeing djinn.

The thing is that it would all have worked for me if it had not jumped so much. I was reading about Adnan and turned the page and suddenly I was reading about Can. For me it was just too jumpy and I got confused. I did not know who was who and what they were doing. It took a really long time for me to get into the book and understand what was going on. Even then I have no idea what Adnan was up too. But then his plot was just too complicated.

This book has a lot going on. Hidden relics, trying to find terrorists before they strike again, people not wanting to be a part of the EU. A hot summer where gas is wanted. People who see djinn and other things that should not exist. And it is interesting.

The best part is the new world he has built up. Where nanos are inserted into our bloodstream to make us concentrate better, and everything you could imagine. Where we can see what is happening on our retina, like a computer. It is a new world but at the same time an old world, and the changes are not big, instead they are believable.

It is a book to read slowly. That is my advice.

Even if the book was not for me I was impressed by the science fiction parts and how these lives came together like a puzzle.

Not for me. But maybe for you.



  1. I do not think this one is for me either. Sounds like there is a lot going on.

  2. I always have a difficult time reading when I jump from character to character with little preamble, it's a bit disorienting. Definitely sounds like a creative and imaginative story though!

  3. Sci fiction reading reviews are mainly from your blog as this is an area out of my comfort zone! not for you is I think a no for me.

  4. OOOH I like the look of this one! It sounds very intriguing.

  5. This might be for me - Turkey is a setting I am always drawn to. The story itself, however, sounds exciting as well.

  6. aww, i don't like it when a book feels like it jumps around too much either.

  7. Yeah, sounds like a book I might enjoy but only after following your advice - reading SLOW-LY. Not my fav way of reading. Maybe.

  8. @Chris
    Take deep breaths

    It was. For me it would have worked better with new chapters for new peeps

    It was very strange sometimes. Too sudden, too fast. I never got a hold of them. But such a rich fantasy

    Mainly from my blog? lol, and I who do not read it that often

  9. I don't like confusing books. Gah. I think I'll skip this one.

  10. @Vivienne
    Do give it a try. Cos even if not for me then all others have enjoyed it

    I just saw some pics from an old internet buddy who had visited and it was just so pretty. The old places that is

    I was thinking it was one story then I realized it had changed POV. not fun

    I read fast, though even reading really really slowly I did have problems. lol, maybe I would have needed a page with all the peeps in the beginning. Still, it might just be a book for you

  11. Even though is sounds very interesting I don't think this book is for me. I don't like books that jump left and right.

  12. This doesn't sound like it would be my type of book either.

  13. @Wonderbunny
    Can't say they are fun either :/

    @Book cat
    I know, jumpy is not for me. But I did enjoy the city. It felt magical and how he always talked about the city as a woman

    Not the book for everyone

  14. I've seen this at the store but don't think it's for me. The jumping would drive me nuts.

  15. I've heard great things about this book and look forward to reading it someday, though I just hope I understand all the scifi stuff.

  16. I don't think I'd want to tackle this one. Hmmm chalk it up for maybe down the road.

  17. Well, you used the magic words "Science Fiction." and I just don't read it!! too bad though that it was difficult understanding all that was going on. I find that is why I don't read this genre!! :D

  18. I was just thinking of books that I really liked the way it was written, but yet couldn't get into the story for one reason or another. Glad I'm not the only one. :) Sorry it didn't work for you, but I don't think it would for me either. I don't mind some jumps but not when it is too much.

  19. I think I want this one. It sounds like something right up my alley.

  20. Hm, curious. Sounds like a twisty ride here. I don't know if it's for me either. But interesting. Thanks!

  21. Sounds like a book that would need to be reread to appreciate the story. For me I don't have much time to reread books so I'll probably won't be reading this one.

  22. @_@. Doesn't sound like it would be for me. I hate books that jumps around too much. Yes, sometimes it's necessary, but I get confused. I get confused a lot too when that happens. Good, honest review.

  23. @Elysium
    Jumping, oy, drives me nuts too. I really can't say more than that

    The sci-fi stuff was actually the easy part in this book so do not worry

    Good idea :) u need something for the future too

    Lol, actyally the sci.-fi stuff was the easy part in this book

  24. Melissa
    I am also glad to hear I was not the only one :) It has happened before too and I always feel sad since I do like the writing.

    It all depends, sure I might like jumps sometimes, but this time it was too much

    Then you should go for it :D

    It is more one of those books you just have to try and see if it is for you

    Honestly, many re-reads for me to really get it :/

    I get confused too. For someone who reads fast and a lot the smallest things still makes me loose all focus

  25. Oh I like the sounds of this one, especially since it was so good you don't know where to begin with your review. Excellent job Linda :)

  26. I am the kind of reader who does not have much patience, so I do not think this book would work for me either.

  27. Thanks Jenny :)
    It was certainly different and different can be very good

    I am not patient either, actually books are the only things that can keep me still..but then they have to work



Copyright © 2008-2020 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell All Rights Reserved. Proudly powered by Blogger

  © Blogger template Starry by 2008 Modified by Lea

Back to TOP