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While some of the characters' discussions of Renaissance history are fun and the theme of obsession with a strange book is promising, this novel never decides what it wants to be and so never becomes anything. There is a 'coming of age' plot (lost son seeks reconciliation with late lost father) that everything hangs onto and if that had been more carefully developed, this might have been a very good novel. It has a very neatly observed setting and the authors are intelligent but they lack the power to sustain tension and suspense. The mysterious book subplot (Hypnerotomachia Poliphili) wanders around until it seems to just lie down and nap. Worst of all, the people in the book are very flat (no pun intended). I never felt like I was listening to more than one character speaking, although the narrator tried his best. Definitely mental chewing gum that doesn't retain its flavor to the end.
42 of 44 people found this review helpful
This is one of those books where one must actually think in order to enjoy it. That said, one doesn't have to analyze it line-by-line, or anything, either. If anyone is interested in this book, I recommend that he make sure he has the patience to read the book all the way through. Intertwining the thrill of discovery, the intrigue of murder, and the excitement of love, The Rule of Four is an exciting (yes, exciting) book for those willing to read (or listen to) it. Believe me, it's not as wordy or as hard to read as some have tried to make it seem - I'm only 16 years old, and it suits me just fine.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful