The Faculty Club

The Faculty Club - Danny Tobey Just finished reading the copy I won on Goodreads!

I have to say, I'm torn. Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors of all time and this novel definitely had the Dan Brown feel to it. However, there were a few things about it that really irked me.. I refuse to give this book a negative review- it was very well thought out and the puzzles and history throughout fascinated me!

One major positive for me was that the author stressed the desperation Jeremy's peers had to get into the V&D. Daphne throwing herself at Jeremy sexually in order to secure his help winning the debate and Nigel's library breakdown were perfect examples of the lengths students would go to to secure a spot in this secret society. Words between characters can only go so far to express such things, but their actions spoke volumes.

Another thing that really struck me was word selection. In line 25 of page 214, the author writes: "Then his spindly arms unfolded like spider legs and bootstrapped his long body through." This sentence has and incredible amount of imagery for how short and sweet it is! I don't believe I have ever read "bootstrapped" anywhere else, but the action is spot-on for how this lanky man would look crawling out of a small tunnel. I even stopped reading to mark the page for future reference.

I very much enjoyed the Dan Brown feel of the novel. From the secret society and mind-bending riddles to the underground labyrinth of unknown dangers and crazy religious ceremonies- it's the perfect read for history buffs and conspiracy theorists everywhere. Tobey obviously did his research for this book and the effort shows. Some favorite instances of mine involve the Ship of Theseus, a homunculus, and a replica of the Capuchin Crypt.

Another point I'd like to bring up is the use of pictures on page 265. To be honest, I'm still not sure how I feel about them. When I first reached the page, I stopped and marked "Why start using pictures now??" in the margin. It makes sense to use them here, to give the reader the full experience of what the characters are looking at, but why not have them throughout the book? I find pictures and illustrations a wonderful change of pace in a novel, but having the only two pictures in the entire book on the same page feels very random to me.

The main problem I had while reading was the lack of names for the school Jeremy attends and several characters. I understand that the author may not be able to use the name of a real university for publicity reasons, and maybe even for copyright reasons, but there are multiple sentences that just sound awkward for the lack of a proper noun. By page 2, it has simply been referred to as "the greatest law school in the world"... Twice. I disliked the repetition, but soon got over it. Though it did come up a couple more times throughout the novel. When it comes to characters, if you're going to give them lines, they should have a name. Just my feeling on the subject. In the mock trial scene, the author only refers to the judges as "the former U.S. Attorney" and "the retired Supreme Court justice". I know they are very minor characters, but if the narrator recognizes them by their careers, he would understandably know and use their names. My last naming concern pertains to Arthur "Humpty Dumpty" Peabody. Yes- the man has a nickname. Yes- a college student would most certainly refer to him by said nickname at some point in time. But....all the time?! Jeremy doesn't even use his given name except while the man's bleeding out all over his desk. Even after that, you would think the characters would have a little more respect for the dead and stop referring to him as "Humpty Dumpty". I mean, Jeremy watched the man die! I know I'm nitpicking, but these are some things I think about when I'm reading.

What graduate students plan their lives around that of someone they've only known two weeks? I get the whole "been to hell and back together" thing could probably drive the two people together, but if I was in Sarah's place, I would be furious with Jeremy for much longer than the book even covered. Although he 'unburdened' her by telling her secret in front of all attending the mock trial, it still was not his secret to tell and I will stand by that belief until the end of time. Sarah tried to KILL HERSELF. She wanted to die because of the hell he thrust upon her, but the reader would never know she was ever that upset to the point of suicide. She never expressed any kind of anger towards him besides the command to "get out" of her hospital room. She recovered from his breach of confidence at a pace that makes it seem unreal.

The end nearly infuriated me. I was left with an immense sense of wonder. What happened to the newly initiated students? We followed the three from the beginning, and suddenly their situation means nothing to the protagonist. He showed so much compassion and caring towards Nigel and Daphne that he allowed them to use him to get to the top. But, once Sarah enters, they're completely forgotten? Even if Jeremy could care less the outcomes of Nigel, John, and Daphne, I'm sure other readers are like me and would've appreciated a little knowledge on that front.

Overall, I had to give this book three out of five stars. I liked it and would definitely recommend it to friends. However, it was a quick read and could have used a little more...something. The plot line flew by.