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Smashwords book reviews by Hannah Piper
on July 15, 2012
Before I say anything else about this novel (or short story anthology, depending on how you choose to view it), I recommend that anyone interested in reading Felixitations start by looking at this article by the author. It is at least somewhat enlightening. Honestly, I think this information should have been included at the beginning of the book in an author's note. It is crucial to understanding what the heck this book is about and what exactly the author was trying to accomplish with it.
Felixitations is actually a collection of short stories about a number of characters, many of whom pop up multiple times and in multiple incarnations throughout the book, and all of whom are somehow connected to Felix. The author identifies Felix as "the felicitator, or bringer of joy, and also the facilitator, the one who makes things possible." So he is more the embodiment of an idea than he is an actual character. His existence is never really explained within the novel itself, and each version of Felix is so different that it is hard to view them all as a single entity. As a result, Felix's frequent alterations in personality and purpose from one story to the next weakens the already-thin link between the 19 stories and gives the collection a disjointed feel.
The stories are written in a variety of styles, usually reflecting the location and era in which they are set. Most of the stories are written in third person, past tense, but a few are written in first person, or present tense, or both. Some of the styles are very effective, and some... aren't. The worst of the lot is definitely "Roland and Olivier," which is written in atrocious and unintentionally-hilarious verse. My favorite story was "A Soldier of Fortune," which was one of the few truly romantic stories in the book. I also liked the vicious little cautionary tale, "The Nubian's Boy."
One element that links these various stories together much more effectively than Felix does is sex. So much friggin' sex. There's sweet sex, experimental sex, menage sex, underage sex, rape, sex with beast-like entities, sex with robots, and so on and so forth. Some of these scenes are written well. Some are even hot. Most are neither. The author seems to favor old school sexual terminology, so there is more than one "tumescence" or "sword of desire" that crops up over the course of the book. So mostly, the sex is just awkward. And plentiful. By the end of the book, most of the characters have had multiple partners, and just about everyone has had Felix in one way or another.
For the most part, I don't feel like Felixitations accomplishes the author's goals. The collection fails to form a cohesive whole, and yet most of the individual stories don't stand alone well, either. The end result is a confusing, frustrating mess. Ultimately, it doesn't seem worth the effort to slog through all the disappointing and bewildering stories in this book just to get to the few real gems.