Title- The Head of the Saint.
Author- Socorro Acioli.
Publish date- October, 2014.
Publisher- Hot Key Books.
RRP- $16.95 (AUD)
A boy follows his mother's last wishes for him by going to the town where his grandmother, and possibly his father, live. There he finds very few people, some rampaging dogs who quickly gnaw at his flesh, and the broken head of a Saint, where he decides to camp out for a few days, before moving on. The he hears the prayers, and things get particularly interesting.
Image Credit: Hot Key Books.
Thank you to Hot Key Books for this review copy!
What I thought:
The Head of the Saint was, and is in my opinion, many things. Unusual. Surprising. Peculiar (unusual v.2). Unexplained. Connected. Strange (v.3). Readable.
For me it was all those things and more, with the added element of having some particularly strange, thought-provoking elements of religious power, which I cannot believe I did not expect. Okay, maybe not the "magic" element, though I don't think that's the right way to explain it, but I did not realise religion would play such a big role in this book, titled The Head of the Saint. It was in the title, Romi. Come on.
And yet, while in some instances that mightn't have been so enjoyable for me, it didn't play a huge part in likening or dislikening me to the book. It was just odd.
I did enjoy this quite a bit. It was a really quick read for me, and I found the strange elements, the interconnecting storylines, the ways the people in the small town were linked to each other and to Samuel, the protagonist, quite interesting and well done. I thought the setting was vibrant, and I really felt the trueness of the community as it grew around Samuel's special gift, yet while I did find myself enjoying these things I couldn't say that there was anything that particularly struck me and held me fast, any one element- from Samuel's strange ability to hear the townswomen's prayers from the inside of an abandoned Saint head, left in a forest area after construcion on it ceased, to the townspeople themselves, who were interesting and all had their own wants and feelings and thoughts, but weren't coming off the page with life or any strident feature, personality or general likability (I felt little about everyone, overall)- that made this more than a quite enjoyable book that left a couple of things underdeveloped or unexplained.
It was an unusual story, and I did certainly follow it with a particular keenness, but I didn't thikn it was great or fantastic- well, not wholly. The thing I did thikn was wonderful was the design! I adore the vibrancy of the cover, the green and blue and cream and these stark colours, all playing together. It tells a bit of the story, you realise after reading it, and the fantastic design continued inside, with a full page of block illustrations at the beginning of each new chapter, images that would relate to the content within. That was truly brilliant, and really effective.
Rating: Good but still Hmm...
Not brilliant, and the couple of spoilery things that were left intentionally mysterious do play on my mind, but I enjoyed this. I love having a copy to look at, love some of the particularly beautiful passages, love the creation of it, visually.