Her Fearful Symmetry

Have you ever had one of those reading experiences where you pick up a debut novel on more than a whim than anything else, only to have it completely blow your socks off? And then you wait and wait for their next book, eager to get more of the same?

And then you read it, and it's just...meh?

I wish that wasn't the case with Audrey Niffenegger's second novel after the wonderful The Time Traveller's Wife, one of the rare books that affected both my wife and I the same way so our conversations about it were completely in sync. But Her Fearful Symmetry reaches for a much different tone and style, more of a gothic horror/romance and unfortunately Niffenegger envelops the story - about a pair of American twin girls who inherit a flat in London from their exiled Aunt after she dies only to find that maybe she's still there - has too many characters that don't follow through, are unsympathetic, and generally relies on some pretty obvious plot points, which leaves the best gifts Niffenegger brought to her debut - full embraceable characters that we spend enough time with to care about.

And that's the saddest thing about Her Fearful Symmetry. There's no one to really root or care for. When the book was finished, I just sighed, put the book down, and decided that while I'm still optimistic for Niffenegger's next book whenever it comes, my expectations will be a little more realistic.