Evening’s Land by Pauline West is the kind of book that you have to read closely and with an open mind as there are plot lines that are very far-fetched and moments in the book where something doesn’t quite fit. It was an interesting read due to being mainly after life after death and questioning that, but I felt like there was too much going on at the same time.Reeling after her best friend’s suicide, Ada Walker falls under the spell of the collective subconscious, the EVENING’S LAND, searching for Faye’s soul with a rakishly hypnotic ghost named Christopher.
First thing is first: I felt like this book was just too much. Evening’s Land is told from so many perspectives which is good in a way because you get to see that character’s point of view but I wish the whole book would have just focused on Faye and Ada’s perspectives because then we could have seen more of Ada learning to come to focus with her newfound ‘gift’.
This is another problem with the book; Ada learnt about her ‘gift’ way too quickly. She grasped the basics so easily and I was just sat there thinking ‘hang on a second, it’s going to take longer than three seconds to figure out how to use this power’ and then she instantly falls for Christopher… and then someone else… It was just too much. I felt like Ada was a bit lost in her whole sexual feelings and it got a bit boring to keep reading how this person made her feel alive, and then another person would make her feel alive… I just really didn’t like her as a character.
However, I did find that this book had a lovely writing style; I loved how much West described the settings, especially Oliver Roamery’s house and I loved how she portrayed Faye and Ada’s family dynamic as – let’s face it – not every family is perfect. I also loved the underlying theme of the whole book: exploring the concept of life after death and the veil in between.
“One does not believe in good without also believing in evil”
– Pauline West, Evening’s Land
This book is mainly set in Charleston, South Carolina but I just felt that this book was so problematic. I felt like the depiction of Jupiter’s character was slightly racist and how it was the black character that ended up in a bad situation, West also didn’t say that ‘this is Jupiter, she is black’, it was more of that ‘milky tea’ and ‘honey’ descriptions. NO. She’s black, just say that she is black. Apart from a slightly different sexual experience that Ada is accustomed to and Jupiter, this book has no diversity at all. The characters are all white and they are all heterosexual. I also felt like the whole offering ritual that takes place throughout the book is problematic. There are three Hispanic characters that are rapists and are the ones being killed (why are Hispanics demoted to this role?) and the whole sexual aura of the book itself seemed very much like rape.
Problems aside, I did like the ending for this book as I felt like it wrapped it up nicely with no loose ends.
Evening’s Land – for me – wasn’t the best read. I found it problematic, I wish that it would have focused on Ada more and her learning about her powers and I wish that there weren’t all of these sexual moments; it seemed to just ruin the book in places. All in all, this book wasn’t great but it did explore the interesting theory of life after death and limbo and if it’s possible to access that world.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the author is exchange for an honest review
Disclaimer: this book has trigger warning for depression, self-harm, suicide, rape and sexual abuse