When we last left our author, she had completed her Soulfinder ("Study" according to Goodreads) trilogy with Fire Study, which I reviewed last June. TWhen we last left our author, she had completed her Soulfinder ("Study" according to Goodreads) trilogy with Fire Study, which I reviewed last June. This book picks up the story diagonally below Fire Study, centered on the character of Opal Cowan, glassmaker and one-trick/two-bit magician. Opal is dealing with self-esteem issues, magic (or lack thereof) issues, and her first "real" assignments as an apprentice magician and expert in glass. There is less conflict and more running from place to place than an adventure reader might like, and less investigative research than the more methodical would prefer. For me, though, it had a good mix of everything except for secondary character development. There were too many places and people for me to get a good grasp on anyone or any one relationship to Opal, and I regretted that lack.
It's a good read for a younger girl who wants a heavier meal than some fantasy books out there. The story is reasonable, though slightly cyclical in nature. I definitely recommend starting way back at Poison Study if you prefer your worldbuilding to have 100% context. If you want sufficient context on Opal, go back to Fire Study and start there.
It's a hefty read for a QP sized paperback, coming in at 488 pages. I definitely got my $14 worth out of it....more
While Briggs treads dangerously close to having Mercy join the Power of the Month Club, I'm still ok with how things are turning out in the series becWhile Briggs treads dangerously close to having Mercy join the Power of the Month Club, I'm still ok with how things are turning out in the series because Mercy still has to end up being rescued as many times as she does the rescuing. Mercy's discovery of new twists on her powers is mostly still a and what good is that going to do me poke-poke-poke version rather than a gee-whiz-ta-da Anita Blake epiphany that just happens to turn the plot around at the climactic scene. The continued development of the characters proceeds in fits and starts, with less of some characters that I like (Warren and Jessie) and some new characters that were interesting enough for me to want them to have more time "on camera" as the series goes along (Mercy's mom).
Also, there is still the fallout of the rape/rescue/slaughter scene from Iron Kissed to deal with, both for the characters and for us-the-audience. The humor in the beginning scenes of Bone Crossed gives Briggs a method to remind the audience that there is real baggage here, and that she is not going to allow any of her characters to brush it off like so many other series do. (I would like to point to Mercedes Lackey's Children of the Night here for a similar discussion of panic attacks and how characters have to work through issues rather than shrug them off or leave them behind in the next scene. Though Mercy doesn't learn quite the same transference technique.)...more
The author decided to pass up on common formatting for conversation (you know, that whole quotes around aBasically, my summary is "Eh, don't bother."
The author decided to pass up on common formatting for conversation (you know, that whole quotes around a spoken sentence), which made it visually hard to read. The word choice was rich, but that didn't quite make up for the glacial pace. The theme is basically two sets of characters who are trying to remake themselves outside of the structure of the civil war. They wander from incident to incident, only slowly growing/changing. I plodded through it, kept afloat by one secondary character (Ruby) and the portrait of characters encountered by the wounded soldier as he traveled. And really, after that long slog through the story, I would have appreciated a slightly happier ending....more
**spoiler alert** Ok, actually, I finished the book, but I haven't updated it with a rating because, well, I need to finish digesting it. My problem i**spoiler alert** Ok, actually, I finished the book, but I haven't updated it with a rating because, well, I need to finish digesting it. My problem is that I can't decide if I like it yet, because the ending was really poorly crafted for me. The book starts out very well. Then the angst and depression and problems start to pile on. Then the author suffers a mental swap with Mercedes Lackey and needlessly tortures the main characters. Then she lays down the required layer of tragedy. The real issue is that her reconciliation of the problems at the end does not overcome her needless tormenting of the characters for forty pages prior.
While I'm digesting the painful (blackened?) ending, I'll discuss the good parts...
This book is way off of my normal beaten path, both in setting and in voice. It is a regular fiction novel set in generally modern times, mostly in Chicago. The book is written from multiple points of view, all in first person. All of the narration is in present tense. First person or present tense is enough to make me edgy. Together, they make me squirm in my chair. But... the book was recommended to me by a woman who I admire and respect for her intellectual curiosity among many other aspects, and I really wanted to try it. So I did. As I told a co-worker during the first 40 pages, "I'm making an effort to get into the book, and the book is making a good effort to reach me." And it did.
I enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife for its simplicity, dual points of view, and woven storyline. The author is not a verbally stunning artist of the written word, and yet, she fits comfortably into my head. She crafts sentences that are easy to read, fun to imagine, and still avoid the choppiness of restricted vocabulary.
The characters are less well-rounded than I might enjoy. Sometimes it felt like I learned more about them from the descriptive forces around them (vacuums, pressures) than I did from reading inside of their points of view. Reading across their respective histories did allow for a wider-and-deeper perspective on both characters, and gave me what is - for me, anyway - a unique angle on character development. I appreciated the logical structure that the author built around the when of the two characters knowing the what about each other's lives. She handled fate/determinism and linear timelines in a non-linear life really, really well....more