Why do people like these ridiculously high fantasy books that just meander on and on and just drag on forever? I truly don’t get it. I can do beautifuWhy do people like these ridiculously high fantasy books that just meander on and on and just drag on forever? I truly don’t get it. I can do beautiful writing. That’s never a problem. But something being overwritten is not the same as being beautifully written. One uses the right words in a melodic way, the other just uses too many words. Not the same.
So my interest in the Shannara trilogy came from the TV show. The TV show is a raging pile of trash that I love quite a bit. Since season two is coming next year I figured I’d try out the book. I’d already had THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA that I picked up at Phoenix Comic Con a couple years ago, but why not start at the beginning? FIRST KING is actually a prequel, not the first book in the trilogy. Not sure if that makes a difference to the trilogy readers, but I highly doubt that the style of writing in the prequel is going to vary much from the actual trilogy. Which is why I won’t be reading it.
It took FOREVER to read as the story outlined every moments in these characters lives in excruciating detail and I just wanted it to end. With a title of FIRST KING OF SHANNARA, the guy didn’t actually make an appearance until halfway through the story. My eyes were already crossed at that point.
I felt completely disconnected from everything going on. The battles were written at arm’s length, the characters were developed at the same distance and they all sounded the same.
I just don’t get it. Is this series popular because it’s what high fantasy is “supposed” to be? The thing is I actually liked the story and I would read on if I didn’t have to slog through such heavy-handed writing. I just can’t do it. It’s not even fun to read; it’s a chore.
Plus, and no surprise, it looks like MTV took quite a bit of liberties with the timeline and some of the characters. And I picked up the book because I wanted to find out what actually happened to the world to make our current society disappear and these elven people crop up. I got nothing. For a prequel it was surprisingly scant on pertinent world information. I got a lot of funky named things and places that are uber-fantasy names and all. But the characters only alluded to the fall of man and that particular world. No one went into detail. Considering all the “as you know, Bob” moments, you’d thinking SOMEONE would mention it. Nope.
Despite my better judgment I’m still intrigued as to how drastically the show differs from the book. It’s not much of a stretch to insinuate that it’s pretty big. MTV obviously wrote the show for a certain demographic, while the book was written for quite a different set of people. I’m okay with it. I can get sucked into the show far easier than I can this book. I’ll stick with that.
First I’ll start with the downers because they really pretty minor. I just kept catching things like wrongly-placed commas, incorrect use of further/fFirst I’ll start with the downers because they really pretty minor. I just kept catching things like wrongly-placed commas, incorrect use of further/farther, inconsistent use of toward/s and forward/s, etc. But aside from that it’s pretty well put-together and I didn’t find I was drawn out of the story at all with these little things.
Product placement was a little thick. A lot of brand naming going on. While I think it was done to provide the reader with an easy image it felt more like ad space. Something like this usually sticks out for me in books.
Lastly, I didn’t like where the book ended. The plot that was introduced at the beginning is not resolved by the end of the book, making THE SHADOW OF ALL THINGS mostly set-up. I don’t have a problem with series, of course, but each book in a series should be able to stand somewhat on its own, with elements linking one book to the next. Not be a Part 1. This felt very much like a part one.
With that being said, I didn’t want to fling it across the room when I was done, like I’ve wanted to do with other books that do the same thing. Probably because it didn’t end in the middle of the action and despite the plot not being resolved it didn’t feel like a larger manuscript with a random moment chosen as the chopped section. It ended on people settling into situations, into their circumstances, accepting what was coming. So there was something vaguely resembling a climax but it was kind of a fake-out. I didn’t feel all wound up at the end and left to hang. Let me put it that way.
I absolutely love the world Houston created. Very Cassandra Clare but, you know, good. Throw in some Diviners by Libba Bray and you have yourself a good feel for what this book will offer you. It takes place in the present and the myriad of characters it follows can all see behind the veil, so to speak. They see these horrible creatures that are effectively plotting to take over the world. Or the realm, I should say because SHADOWS deals with multiple dimensions.
New York in Houston’s world has a sort of layering quality. Thing A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by VE Schwab and her Londons, all the different types layered on top of each other and only people with certain abilities can access the different layers and travel between them. Except in Houston’s world those people are getting eaten by interdimensional creepers that leave skin sacks of their victims in gutters.
There’s really a creepy element to it that burrows in and makes you look around with narrowed eyes. What is REALLY going on around me? Houston gives good ambiance, sets a good scene, and plays with characters well. He flipped around between multiple points of view and he handled them all extremely well. Each scene change flowed into the next seamlessly and each character stuck out as their own entity, none of them blending together at all.
If you’re looking for something part horror, part maybe sci-fi, and all dirty New York you’ll find it in THE SHADOW OF ALL THINGS. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. Please tell me there’s a sequel . . .
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review....more
This was definitely an interesting story and I found myself hooked into it from the very first page.
Roy’s voice is incredible. I love what she does wiThis was definitely an interesting story and I found myself hooked into it from the very first page.
Roy’s voice is incredible. I love what she does with accents to a level of envy. It’s not stream-of-consciousness or any kind of broken English or anything. It’s all in the play of sentence structure. A subtle use of a word that makes a sentence grammatically incorrect but so incredibly right for the character who’s talking or thinking. She doesn’t really use apostrophes to show words that are droppin’ letters or nothin’. It’s so intelligent and so sly and so incredibly perfect that the story just wove its words around my head and wouldn’t let me go until the end. Absolutely loved her voice.
The story was dark but not as dark as I was expecting it to be. I’m going to come back around to the world subtle again. I feel like I’m going to use that one a lot. But there’s just no other way to describe it. LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS has a slow-building darkness that creeps up on you. It flows out from under the space of a door to fill the room up, except you don’t notice it until it’s almost around your neck. Everything starts in rumors and gossip and people being afraid for no good reason and before you know it you’re wondering if there’s some supernatural element going on and what the hell just happened SOMEONE’S DEAD.
Juna is one hell of a character that slowly builds into something that could be evil but could be a product of her environment. Where does one end and the other begin? Does Juna really have any supernatural powers or just the power of fear she’s been given all her life because of superstitious people? You have no idea and you watch as it completely runs out of control and absolutely ruins people in the process.
LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS is such an idyllic setting . . . with creatures creeping in the shadows. In the dark little corners of the Holleran house and out in the rows of lavender and maybe by the shed near the Baine place. I love how rumors and urban legends have effectively molded what this little town is and how they fall into this self-fulfilling prophecy that has an effect on people decades down the road.
The book is a sleeper that’ll jump out at you when you least expect it and stay with you long after you’ve turned out the light. It’s not scary in a traditional sense, but it’s phenomenal at showing just what people can do to themselves and others with only words. It’s a powerfully dark story that’ll stay in the back of your mind long after you’ve read it. Roy is a fantastic storyteller and LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS makes me want to read everything else she’s written. Her voice is just mesmerizing.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
Structurally I found it kind of confusing. The world appears to be an alternate earth where wizards are realI’m a bit torn on how I feel about GREETH.
Structurally I found it kind of confusing. The world appears to be an alternate earth where wizards are real and these different types of wars happened on this earth timeline instead of the wars we know of happening. I had a hard time orienting myself whenever the larger world came into play because the book didn’t explain the past. It just explained things as if the wizard wars in the 13th century were a normal thing that happened in our world (that’s not a specific reference but one like it was made in the book). So alternate history? Wizards came to power at X time? I’m not entirely sure and that kept me from fully settling into the story itself.
Everything else I didn’t have much problem situating myself with, from the magic, to the governing bodies, to the people themselves. They all fell right into place and I didn’t have much of a problem following them around as the story progressed.
It was a pretty interesting story that had my gag reflex running from time to time. All those bugs and the way some people died . . . blech. Skeeved me out, which I’m sure was the point. I did like how all of this stuff surrounding Greeth had to do with an alternate reality, an alternate universe trying to break into the one in the story and in some cases it was driving everyone insane. Literally. It played with the brain a little bit. Had it been something like an alien bug invasion or something I think it would have cheapened the story. But the way it was written and how Greeth came into play I thought was really well done and, at times, thought-provoking. When I wasn’t gagging.
The ending . . . was interesting. It disturbed me, which was probably the point. Even thinking back on it now I find it unsettling how everything was all wrapped up. Again, I’m pretty sure that was the point, especially considering how LaFave mentioned authorities reacting at the end of the book. It makes sense.
So not a bad read, GREETH. I felt all of the characters I read about were compelling and I didn’t have any problems getting behind their stories and watching them maneuver through this life that was thrown in front of them. The story itself was engaging and I found myself turning pages, repulsed but wholly interested in finding out what was going to happen next. It was part character-driven story as this mish-mash of individuals come together to find the Big Bad and part horror story as these bugs try to take over the world. Gross.
GREETH is for a particular type of horror fan. If you really don’t like bugs and get queasy easily I’d recommend you avoid it. If not then it’s not a bad read.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review....more