Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: The Room in the Dragon Volant

THE ROOM IN THE DRAGON VOLANT: a book that deserves more attention

Sheridan Le Fanu is known for his supernatural and gothic tales. His writing proves to be masterful, for it has greatly influenced the genres immensely. One of the least known works of Le Fanu is the Room in the Dragon Volant. I must say that, even though this piece is quite unusual for Le Fanu, for it is not a supernatural tale, it does not deserve to be buried in the sands of time.

What I really like about this book is the fact that it disguises itself as a supernatural story. The hotel room in the Dragon Volant is established as haunted because there are many mysterious disappearances there. Coincidentally, it is the very room that the protagonist occupies. Thus, it creates an air of suspense. Add into the mix the intriguing Countess de St. Alyre. Then we will see ourselves in the middle of a suspenseful and mysterious story. Overall, the story has enough twists, turns, and mysteries that will keep the reader diving deeper into the story; and there are also subtle hints that prove that these twists are not just for shock value, but actually well planned out. The perfect example is how it is unravelled that the mysterious room is not influenced by a supernatural agency. The rumour is nothing but an elaborate hoax -- and it is one that brings the protagonist in to the brink of death.

This is all told in a writing style that is very gothic, which brings a somewhat dark tinge whenever the audience imagine the story in their minds. The descriptions are also note worthy, for they have been effective on portraying the beautiful and mysterious character of Countess de St. Alyre. It isn’t far off that the protagonist has been captivated by her, for, as a reader, I myself am captivated to the lady because of Le Fanu’s imagery. This makes the protagonist’s naïveté very understandable and relatable, and, somehow, it shows the negative consequences of diving too deep in to mysteries.

This book clearly shows that Sheridan Le Fanu can write tales that are beyond his usual genre; and it is always fun to read an author that tries to expand the scope of his expertise. It just so happens that this book is not receiving the attention that is currently enjoyed by Le Fanu’s other books. I just wish that, some day, it would finally obtain the attention it deserves.

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