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The Rule of Four (1 Viewer)



I just finished 'The Rule of Four' book by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. The book was very well written, probably one of the better first person writes i have read. The character description was excellent, you were able to identify with the characters and understand what type of people they were. The story line was interesting but to me was very slow. I was expecting a larger ending to the story and more explanations for the plot. But i am assuming they wanted to leave alot up for the individual to interpret. In all i enjoyed the book but is not in my top 10 reads.

What did any one else think?


Senior Member
argo said:
What did any one else think?
I found the book to be a directionless mess by two very amateur friends posing as writers who have no ability to plot a tale. Having had a translation of the Hypnerotomachi Poliphili for some time prior to this book's publication I was hoping for some interesting details I may not have known rather than rehash of common details.

The claim on the hardback that it was a combination of Dan Brown, Donna Tartt, and Umberto Eco should have had alarm bells ringing. I can only suspect that this was meant to mean the poor writing of Dan Brown (which, to be fair, they managed okay with), the suspense of Donna Tartt's The Secret History, and the esoterica of Umberto Eco. Sadly, it was a compliment to Brown, and an insult to both Tartt and Eco.

I'm aware that many seem to have bought this book on the back of The Da Vinci Code (front of bookstores usually helps crap sell!) but I'm aware that it's not a thriller, which disappointed many, but a coming of age story. It's setting is wholly within some highbrow American college (Princeton?) of which the two authors are alumni and is just a catalogue of life there with some stuff about a mysterious book thrown in. More time is spent telling the reader about how fun life is at the college and how there's a secret society, and how they lived in dormitories, and....yawn!

The characters were weak, I found. Up their own arse; obsessed with college life. If I remember correctly one was struggling over the really hard dilemna of "should I pursue the mystery behind this cryptic Renaissance text, or do I go out for a meal with the girlfriend?" This is conflict? It's no contest stuff.

The Rule of Four is one of the two books in recent years I've just had to stop reading for fear of boring myself to death. The other book, incidentally, was Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. But I may return to that when I'm older.