The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist: A Novel - Jessie Burton

I'm giving up on this at 46%. I can't keep forcing myself to read this since there really is no incentive or desire to keep going. This becomes another book that has greatly disappointed me and I'm not sure just how harshly it should be reviewed because I can tell the author was really trying to go somewhere with this one.

"The Miniaturist" ultimately doesn't deliver the magic it promised. It begins with a rather cryptic prologue chapter that sets the tone while simultaneously being very confusing and not going back to it much as the book progresses. I don't know whether the end clarifies this up or not but I don't particularly want to find out, demonstrating the fact that this book doesn't deliver what it promises to. There's too much going on and at the same time nothing going on either. It got difficult reading the lengthy descriptive paragraphs that didn't enhance the story, instead trying to fit in the magical aspect into the plot.

The only character that had something going for them was Johannes, and mainly due to his secret which even then wasn't addressed in a way that made me want to keep reading to find out just how the situation will be approached. Every other character was frankly flat and unappealing, with their faults being magnified to such an extent that it became difficult to keep telling myself to cut them some slack and excuse them from their naivete or frustrating stubbornness. Nella was the worst in this aspect. She felt exactly like the naive peasant girl she kept telling herself and the reader she wouldn't be. There was no way of connecting with her, it didn't work.

Even half way through the book I fail to see where the story is going. It's a wonderful idea and would've made for a wonderful book if it were executed well, which it sadly wasn't. I began to think the miniatures over and add a metaphorical layer to them, which partially cleared some of my uneasiness regarding what feels like a pointless plot, but it didn't bring much reward with it. Reading through the other reviews solidified my assumption that the reader doesn't find out much in the end and though I'm a great lover of ambiguous endings there must be some substance in the beginning of the book, enough of a stable foundation to make me appreciate the ending. This missed the mark completely for me and trying to wrestle out some more enjoyment out of this one seems pointless.