The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes

Review published on April 26, 2017.

‘Gifts ought to be free, but they never are. They tie you to the wishes of others. To your own sad expectations. To the penitentiary of your dreams.’

Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever. In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is.

The Gift Maker is a story about identity, about fulfilling your dreams and becoming the person you always were… at whatever cost.

This book had an amazing premise; I had hoped I would really really enjoy it. As you can imagine, I was super disappointed when I realised that this just wouldn’t hold my attention. I just kept finding myself putting off reading it. I ended up just pushing on and on, almost forcing myself to read it. I liked a couple of the characters, such a Ulli and Johann. However, I hated the repetitiveness of some bits, references such as ‘Jo short for Johann’.

I loved the idea of the mystery. Who is the Gift Maker? What does he want? Why does he deliver the boxes in the middle of the night? What is in the box? And whilst the last question is answered fairly quickly, I still wanted to know a little more. Yet, as I mentioned before, I found myself picking up any other book instead.

This book is a conundrum. Mark Mayes obviously has a great imagination. This book was unique. The world so similar to our own, yet it differs in subtle ways. The writing style is great…. and yet, it just wasn’t for me. I feel like part of the ‘unpopular opinion’ side of things for this book. So many people absolutely loved it, but I cannot force myself to agree with them. I would describe this book simply as OK. Nothing more, nothing less.

Jacqueline Leech 2/2

The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes
Urbane Publications 9781911331773 pbk Feb 2017

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