Review | Gutenberg’s Apprentice – Alix Christie


Paperback (Headline Review, 392 pages)

Expected publication: September 23rd 2014

Rating on Goodreads: 2 stars

“Gripping historical novel about a young German scribe apprenticed to one of history’s most extraordinary characters, Johann Gutenberg, creator of the first printed Bibles. Dramatic, colourful, historically accurate, the novel is both gripping and informative, bringing to life a period of unprecedented change in Europe and beyond.”

Gripping, this wasn’t. I really wanted to like this novel, I really did. But the style just didn’t grab me. I didn’t find the characters interesting, nor the setting. I have a long-standing interest in the history of the printing press and palaeography, and I truly hoped that Gutenberg’s Apprentice would be just what I expected. But it wasn’t. I found the writing dull. That might sound like an awful thing to say, but I just could not get into the story. The characters had no depth to them, and I really feel like Ms Christie could have explored them a little bit more. The problem is the style, which at times is so formal that the reader can’t grasp at the personalities or the emotions of the characters, nor at the nuances of the history behind it.

As a historical novel, this simply didn’t work for me, at all. Which is a shame.



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