NO NO NO. Just absolutely fucking no. The writing was clunky and rough and ponderous to read. The characters were one dimensional and the contrivance...moreNO NO NO. Just absolutely fucking no. The writing was clunky and rough and ponderous to read. The characters were one dimensional and the contrivance of grandpa telling a story to grandkid was played out about a million years ago with The Princess Bride.
The characters aren't built before things start happening to them. The world is complex but seems to be complex just for the sake of complexity. The supporting characters have motivations that you get to know they have, but no explanation of WHY they have these motivations. And the grandfather has the most godawful brogue I've ever had the displeasure of trying to read. It's so poorly written as to be incredibly distracting.
I made it through 30% of this book before I quit and I wish I hadn't wasted that much time on it.(less)
If you made it through Shatter, then you owe it to yourself to give the follow-up a try. (I completely understand if you ditched Shatter at the beginn...moreIf you made it through Shatter, then you owe it to yourself to give the follow-up a try. (I completely understand if you ditched Shatter at the beginning, though) Some of the problems found in Shatter are resolved here. The editorial problems are fewer, although still noticeable even if you aren't super observant. The pacing is better as Mock seems to struggle with introducing new things and there is less newness in this book.
The plot progresses better in this than it did in her first book, but there are still things that I can't suspend my disbelief for. I still have no idea why the characters are a group (other than she needed them to get together somehow and now it's just kind of stuck). And the character interactions are somewhat stilted. I hope Mock is planning on this being a longer series than a trilogy because it feels like she is just getting warmed up. If its a trilogy, her pacing is worse than I thought.
You know what I did enjoy about this book, though? The depiction of domestic violence. Stick with me, here. I know its a weird sentence. I liked it because it struck me as realistic. I've worked with a lot of domestic abuse survivors and their relationships with their abusers are more complex than usually is written about. People who seem strong and together are manipulated and put into victim roles. Love and affection are doled out with coercion and abuse. Its hard to untangle all of the feelings wrapped together. And Mock manages to portray this with a depth I wasn't expecting. The abuser is overly vilified (but that's always easier) and one dimensional, but you get a lot of the complexity from the victim's perspective. It's interesting and not really what I'd bargained for, but... enjoyable? captivating? mature and deftly handled.(less)
2.5 stars, really. And if I were rating on concept I would go with 3.5. However, there are lots of problems with the actualization of this book. The...more 2.5 stars, really. And if I were rating on concept I would go with 3.5. However, there are lots of problems with the actualization of this book. The first and foremost is that this novel is drudgery for the first several chapters. Actually, its ponderous through the first 20% of the book. I had to force myself to stick with it due to weird pacing, constantly changing point of view and general confusion about the damn plot. Admittedly, I'm glad I stuck it out as Mock seems to find her footing after that point.
Not that this isn't rife with problems. It is. There are more typos and wrong word choices than I care to bring up (affect for effect, breath for breathe, etc.) and while I can overlook a lot, it was distracting. Mock needs a better editor. Actually several of my complaints might have been resolved that way.
Beyond the editorial nightmare there are problems with the introduction of new information. If this is going to be a Robert Jordan-esque series (and it certainly feels like it is), then please don't torture me. It's going to be long so just give me the information I need to understand this damn world. There are so many cities, factions, orders and races that it is impossible to make any sense of them in the first novel. What's worse is that they are brought up, not explained and then never referenced again. Or brought up like you have a clue what the characters are talking about. It's maddening! Further, the kindle version of this has no maps or glossary (I don't know about the print version) and we could use both of them, thanks! And at the beginning, please.
That being said, I really enjoyed the actual story. I like Faela well enough, she has an interesting story. I actually like most of the characters well enough, but the only one I REALLY enjoyed was Jair. For me at least, his enthusiasm and happy-go-lucky nature make the first book. I liked the concept of magic being colored (although I KNOW I've encountered it before). This is really a very typical fantasy novel, nothing feels new but it does feel like a well-loved article of clothing. Nothing surprising, but comfortable and enjoyable.(less)