Dan Simmons
Drood Cover



What to say, what to say about Drood by Dan Simmons. First I should say the Mr. Simmons is the 2013 Grand Master of Horror awarded by the World Horror Convention, and the novel itself was a 2010 Locus Fantasy Award nominee. This being said Drood is not a horror or even a fantasy novel, but is in fact a psychological thriller. It is important to be aware of this fact, because if a reader goes in expecting a horror, or even a fantasy novel, they will be sadly disappointed. I strongly feel that this will explain some of the negative reactions to this novel. People seem to either love it or hate it. I have read very few ambivalent reviews.

Also at 946 pages this is a very long and wordy novel. I will be perfectly frank about this. I think about 200 pages could have been edited out with a judicial eye and not hurt the story one bit. The novel is full of descriptions, some of which are absolutely brilliant. Mr. Simmons descriptions of the smells of London's ghettos in the hot July of 1865 not only carried me to those fetid London's streets visually but nasally as well. I was walking with Dickens and Willkie on those streets and it was horrific. But at the same time, I did not need page after page describing the lighting for Dickens reading tour. This is where the judicial editing would have been nice.

As for the plot, it is almost impossible to describe the plot of this novel without numerous spoilers, so I am not going to try. The books descriptions on this site will have to do. What I will say is that again, if a reader is looking for a horror novel, this one will disappoint. I was not disappointed. This is the first novel of Mr. Simmons that I have read and so went into it with no expectations (as opposed to Great Expectations, yes, I just threw in a Charles Dickens joke in a review of a novel about Charles Dickens).

I found Drood to be an amazing read, although about half way through I accused it of being "Bloated", and as I said it is longer than it needed to be. But in spite of that, I still wanted to read the ending. I wanted to know what happens to Willkie Collins, one of the most damaged characters I have ever read. Mr. Simmons does not shy away from the unpleasant characteristics of his characters for sure. Charles Dickens comes off as a pompous ass and incredibly insensitive to family and friends. Willkie Collins, the narrator of our tale, is sad, vain and jealous man, who is almost as insensitive as Dickens. At times it was a battle about which character I liked least at any given moment. But the point is Mr. Simmons wrung real emotion out of me. Although by about half through the novel I began to suspect there was more to this novel than a simple "Who and Where was the mysterious Drood", I still found the ending a bit of a surprise. I expected that the character in trouble at the end of the novel would have his troubles resolved, but in a shocking twist, they were not, and the novel ends with the character's troubles following him through to the moment of this death. Sorry to be so cryptic about this plot twist, but read the novel and you will see what I mean.

If a Psychological thriller involving Victorian London slums, drug use, and mesmerism, with an unexpected ending is your thing, Drood by Dan Simmons is the novel for you.