I read this book a while back, and even now -- or perhaps it's because it is 'now'-- I struggle to write a review and give a rating.
Time hasn't made it easier to collect my thoughts, but nor did having the fresh, raw feelings seeping out and around me like an open, gaping wound. Fascinating. Yet I noted this with a sense of detachment.
The Adorned is a beautiful book. Delicate, with stunning, swirling details rendered so skilfully-- a mirror of the tattoos which featured so prominently and symbolically within the novel. The details of tattooing, the details of each and every character and the details of the setting-- all so fascinating and executed with the elegance of mesmerising prose.
As wonderful and enchanting as everything was though, there was this connection that was missing. A sense of detachment which caused my experience to feel more like a silent black and white film. And -- to continue with the poor metaphor -- it carried a similar somber atmosphere to it. For me, anyway; god knows my interpretation is always on the wacky side. This whole book felt like an artwork which I appreciate, praised and admired but always from 3 metres away in a bloody gallery with jackass guards staring me down.
Anyway, my rambling about abstract feelings needs to stop. The characters were real and interesting and some needed to be clobbered on the head and quartered, but I suppose that's a sign of good characterisation (I would prefer to have never known them though). The romance felt a bit vague honestly, but still very tangible and sweet and unlike more erotica romances.
There was very little erotica in this, which, surprisingly, I agree with since it wouldn't really fit the atmosphere anyway. Tristan successfully provoked emotion and fondness in me despite the detachment I felt, and the ending was particularly strong in that respect.
Overall, I very much adored this wonderful book, though it hasn't quite made the strongest impression I think it had the potential to.
Rating: 4 - 4.25