By all accounts, Ezekiel Boone’s spider trilogy was quite good. I wish the same were true of his haunted mansion novel. In fact, The Mansion is so far removed from being a decent novel that it is one of the few times I regret the time I spent reading a novel.
The problem is that nothing happens. Seriously. Nothing. Happens. Oh, there is some drama and blood once you reach the 90 percent mark, but before that point, there is nothing but hints of a depraved history and a very repetitive rehashing of the origins of this fabulous software system.
Once the action does heat up, the answers remain vague and disappointing. You are so thankful something is finally happening, however, that you ignore the fact that there are no real answers and celebrate the rapidity of the denouement. The end is in sight, and you can’t wait to get there after wading through 300 pages of the same technology verbiage, the same character introspection, and the same lack of answers.
The characters have no development. They are purely one-dimensional placeholders, one step above the pseudo-artificial intelligence around which the novel revolves. Mr. Boone spends more time tap-dancing around their individual tragic childhoods than he does creating any depth in his characters. The lone exception to this is Shawn, the man who makes the entire novel possible. We do see one night of his childhood tragedies, but even that does not come until the 60 percent mark of the novel. With four narrators – Shawn, Billy, Emily, and her twin nieces – one expects a better understanding of each of their motivations and desires. Instead, we get a whole lot of their past motivations and desires, and not much of anything else. These are easily forgotten characters, the kind in whom you have no vested interest. It matters not what any of their futures are because you just don’t care.
At heart, The Mansion is as much a love triangle as it is anything else, which is supremely annoying because the only character aware that it is a love triangle is the computer program, which should be creepy but is really nothing more than Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey – movie or book. The whole story tries to hard to be something new but fails spectacularly. Between the lack of original plot, boring characters, and fact that nothing of interest happens in the story, it is safe to say that Ezekiel Boone’s latest novel is one for which it is best to skip.