As a comic book reader, I have no problem jumping into the middle of an ongoing series and being perfectly content to just figure out things as I go a...moreAs a comic book reader, I have no problem jumping into the middle of an ongoing series and being perfectly content to just figure out things as I go along. I assume I might miss out on some little nod to previous stories, but I am perfectly okay with that if the story I am reading is solid on its own. Series that are clearly marked as finite, however, I normally take the time to start from the beginning.
When I was filling out the Goodreads “End of Year” Awards, I spent some time reading the reviews of the various nominees. I was stuck by the particularly high reviews and large amounts of praise that was heaped on the second book of Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists Trilogy. Though the overall body of the reviews on the first book, Mind Games, were not as high, the reviews I read spoke highly and contained things like “noir” and “comic book-y”. Ultimately, this was enough for me to give it a shot.
I understand now why people used term like “noir” and “comic book-y”. The book has some elements of both. What really stands out about the book, however, is its concept of “powers”. The concept is far from the traditional set of superhero powers and does not fall anywhere near currently popular vampire, werewolf, witch paranormal trappings. Instead, the powers are something all together new and refreshing.
The story provides a suitable amount of twists and turns to keep the reader involved. There is a decent amount of foreshadowing and a clever reader will probably see some of the more interesting twists coming, but the story is engaging nonetheless. Ms. Crane makes an interesting choice on her chapter organization by fully containing the smaller arcs within each chapter. None of the individual chapters end on some cliff hanger that makes the reader say “must. start. next. chapter.” I found this structure allowed me to budget my time time to read the book more efficiently and, as a result, burn through it rather quickly. Besides, the overall story arc was more than engaging enough to want me to keep reading.
Those people who say this is a noir book must be reading different noir than I’m used to. Though it does have a noir-ish feel at some points, there is an overall optimism to the book that I do not think falls within the traditional noir realm. Also, I did not expect as many “romance” elements in the book as there ended up being (though that’s probably from my lack of overall research on that book, not any false advertising by the author or publisher). After reading books like The Hunger Games Trilogy, the more adult takes on romance and relationships were a nice change of pace. Though I would have been perfectly entertained without those elements , they in no way hampered by enjoyment of the story. Most importantly, they didn’t take take me out of the story like I have found in some YA-targeted books. Overall, I was extremely pleased with Ms. Crane’s work. I fully anticipate the second book in this trilogy, Double Cross, to be occupying a spot in my “currently reading” queue in the next couple of weeks.