Drood. The Dudalong

Posted 15 November, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 15 Comments




And this is the moment when I confess that I had to give up on Drood halfway through the book after spending three weeks of disliking the experience. Ok, so I’ve already mentioned this on twitter and told some of you on various blogs, but if you haven’t heard: the DroodAlong was the pits and even though I felt all of the guilt for abandoning this readalong, I had to keep my sanity.

Title: Drood
Author: Dan Simmons
Narrator: John Lee
Published: 2009; Pages: 784
Audio Duration: 29 hrs; 59 min
Genre: Fiction (Historical?)
Rating: Dud. Or, Did Not Finish

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible*

In Short: Narrated by author Wilkie Collins, this contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens attempts to uncover the truth about the mysterious figure named Drood.

Why I Read/Listened: I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and even made it one of my 2014 Must Reads just to get it off that TBR shelf. So, naturally I offered up a readalong.

Thoughts in General: The premise of Drood is an interesting one. And I loved that the story was told from the eyes of Wilkie Collins. He takes us on a journey through subterranean London and gives us insight into Charles Dickens’s life. We learn about opium dens (which according to Wikipedia weren’t really a big deal in London) and the processes of writing a novel. Even the mystery of who Drood is was intriguing. And mesmerizing, hypnotizing, laudanum induced psychotic moments?

But. Our poor narrator Collins couldn’t stick to a topic. He droned on and on about things that didn’t matter. His narrative was tangential and meandering and I almost never cared what was going on in the book. It takes a lot of me to abandon a book, but I’m trying to be better about it and after spending weeks on Drood and only making it halfway (and dreading picking it back up), I knew it was time to move on. Perhaps there was a gem of a story buried within the text, but I don’t even care to look for spoilers about what the book is all about.

Bottom Line: Moving on! The upside of reading Drood? It made me interested to learn more about Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and various aspects of Victorian life. Though I can’t say I’m terribly interested in reading The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Dickens, I was reminded that I would like to continue reading through Dickens’s and Collins’s works. But off to the library donations my big giant hardback book goes.

Notes on the Audio: I listened to the unabridged audio version narrated by John Lee. Perhaps it is telling that Audible does not offer the unabridged version, so the link above is to the MUCH shorter version (10 hours versus 30) narrated by Simon Prebble. For what it’s worth, the narration by Lee was fantastic and had I cared a little more about the incessant ramblings of the fictional Wilkie Collins, I might have continued listening.

The DroodAlong

If you participated in the readalong and finished, you deserve the world’s biggest medal. Maybe you loved it. People do love this book. Don’t they? If you have a finale post, please include your link in the comments. If you didn’t write a finale, no worries–but I’d still love to know your thoughts in the comments (whether you finished or not).


readalong gang


What’s the next readalong? BAG OF BONES!!! By Stephen King. Just in time for Christmas. Grab your book/audio (King narrates!) because we’ll start December 1st. Who wants to come up with the catchy hashtag? Because BOBalong is all I got.

Happy Reading!


15 Responses to “Drood. The Dudalong”

  1. Don’t feel bad. My read-a-long of The House of Seven Gables was also a dud-a-long back in September. I just could not do it! We cannot waste our reading lives on books we can’t stand.

    Bag of Bones! My favorite SK novel! If I join you, this will be my third reading of it. I’m seriously considering it too. Maybe I’ll listen on audio…hmmm.

    You could call it the #saralaughsalong That’s the name of the summerhouse that belongs to the main character and where a lot of it is set. Just a suggestion. :)

    • Stephen King narrates!! I do hope that you’ll join us and good to know about House of the Seven Gables. Life is too short for books we dread picking up!

  2. Looking forward to Bag of Bones! These days, I really need a push to re-read a book, so I’m glad you’re hosting this readalong. :)

    • I’m glad YOU gave me the continual nudge to read Bag of Bones! I wouldn’t be reading it if not for your suggestion a long time ago. ;)

  3. I’m still reading! It’s going slowly because I’m using it as my bedtime book, but I’m still enjoying it. I’m about 65% done. I’ll be finishing it sometime this week.

    I can’t do the Bag of Bones readalong because it conflicts with my project of reading all of SK in order of publication, but I look forward to your thoughts on it!

    • You are a rockstar Heather! I really wanted to like this one but it was too much for me. When you finish, let me know your final thoughts!

  4. Whew – glad I passed on this one. Doesn’t seem like any of you liked it! Or maybe I just go back to the library and pick up that abridged audiobook!

  5. I almost joined this a-long but at the last minute decided not to, and after reading what you thought I’m really glad I didn’t.

    I’m definitely in for Bag Of Bones though. I LOVE SK and this is one I haven’t read.

  6. So where’s my big-ass medal for finishing? ;-)
    I think #BOBalong is perfect…in fact, I’m going to go write #BOBalong in my planner for December 1st.
    And then…we should totally continue the theme of bones and read The Bone People next year. Because I could free up all sorts of space on my shelf if I read that book. And because I think the person who finished the #dudalong should get to choose a book. Right?!?

  7. Drood was one of the first audiobooks I ever listened to, and that was several years ago. I did make it through it, but yeah, sometimes Wilkie’s ramblings left me wondering why and where are we? But at the end of the book, I felt I had used my time well finishing the book. Just a tinsy spoilery (and if you made it half way through you probably already know this) – the main narrator is an unreliable narrator. So his ramblings make much more sense by the end.

  8. So I added a nonfiction book on Victorian England called “How to be Victorian” to my to-read list because I was intrigued with that aspect of the book. And, like you, I was reminded that I should read more Collins and Dickens. But this book? Meh. Moving on.

    I haven’t decided about joining in on BOB yet as I’m trying to decide what I can fit in around the holidays. Do you know when the halfway check in will be?

  9. Ti

    When I read it as an ARC, I was amazed at how slow going it was. His one book. The Terror, is the complete opposite! A crazy, wild ride which made me have high hopes for this one but it was just too slow for my tastes. I did finish it though.