You can have your cake and eat it too, but this Cake comes with a serious disclaimer. While it seems like Salom is heading for a creepy Shakespearean family tangle, Hamlet this is not. As a lover of mysteries and psychological dramas, I thought that this book would be perfect for me. Alas, this novel didn’t learn that brevity is the soul of wit.
Salom’s sentence structures are well-developed, not littered with excess adjectives and adverbs. I never had to flip back pages in confusion, which is always a plus. However, I felt that the book’s plot got dry quickly. I’m all for a good remake, but the Hamlet elements seem forced. There was Claude (from King Claudius), a mother that doesn’t inspire much sympathy, Alex’s weird hints of an Oedipus complex, and the father’s ghost. Claude was a dull, dull villain. He was too bipolar (Nice dad! Bad dad!) for me to ever get a solid analysis of him. The father’s ghost was simply bizarre. It worked in Elizabethan England, but I don’t think that today’s audience will buy the Look! It’s a ghost giving me warnings because I don’t have the common sense to see them myself! storyline. I would have rather seen Rosaura do her own investigative work without having to rely on a dead person.
While I liked the idea of reading from a young girl’s perspective, I really disliked Rosaura by the end. She is nothing like the pensive woman on the cover; instead, she mopes around, makes rash decisions, has unfortunate friends, and seems rather out of place in the story. With a few tweaks, if Salom had inserted a twenty- or even thirty-something-year-old woman I would have found the tale more realistic. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this book to any of my friends. Teens don’t necessarily need a breathtaking romance or epic fights to love a story, but they do need a fast-moving plot with relatable characters. Despite its great promise, The Cake House didn’t make the cut for me.