It is nice to see a YA book written with a 28 year old protagonist instead of a 14 year old acting 28. However I have never been so flat-out bored byIt is nice to see a YA book written with a 28 year old protagonist instead of a 14 year old acting 28. However I have never been so flat-out bored by a mystery novel, so I can't recommend it....more
I have almost no familiarity with Stephen King, so understand it is a fairly ignorant opinion when I say I think his shorter and non-horror works (sucI have almost no familiarity with Stephen King, so understand it is a fairly ignorant opinion when I say I think his shorter and non-horror works (such as this one) avoid the excesses of his typical work and better display his ability as a writer. Here we have two old newsmen chatting with their intern describing a mystifying crime where no element of the incident makes sense. (This was the loose inspiration for the TV show Haven.) The two newsmen are wonderful affable characters with years of history between them, each taking up telling a story when the other pauses but also falling into silence to avoid rehashing years old disagreements. The crime itself is not so much a mystery as the philosophical question how do you fit an inexplicable event into your worldview. Sherlock Holmes said "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left must be true", but in this story after the impossible is eliminating there appears to be nothing left. ...more
This books opening ends with Logen Ninefingers hanging off a cliff edge with a ravenous orc chomping through his calf, and he desperately pushes himseThis books opening ends with Logen Ninefingers hanging off a cliff edge with a ravenous orc chomping through his calf, and he desperately pushes himself off the cliff hoping to hit the river rather than the ground below. When next we see him the ruined calf and massive fall don't appear to be a problem, but he is going to starve to death. And then when we later see him the whole starvation thing doesn't seem to affect his ability to carry another man forty miles on his back.
This is my major problem with the book - again and again descriptions of what is currently happening seem disconnected or outright contradictory to previous characterization and action. There were at least 5 scenes where people had such inexplicable reactions that I wondered if their companions were magicians casting a spell to control their minds. And despite there being absolutely no evidence of this by the end of the book, it still seems like the only plausible explanation (other than incredibly poor writing).
This feeling is accentuated by the author's choice to be extremely parsimonious with information about the world. In another review I noted our views into written worlds often seem limited to the 500 meters around the protagonists. By comparison here we get to see about 10 meters around the protagonists. There are seemingly major characters who only have brief cameos, and seemingly major characters who don't appear at all. By the end of the novel we have several people assembled for a quest, except we don't know what the quest is or why any of those characters have been chosen. The exception that proves the rule is one companion who is chosen for being color blind, but we don't know why that is important or why they had to search thousands of miles away to find a color blind person. In a book called "The First Law #1", we only get maybe four enigmatic references to the First Law. This book is a lot like the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring, if you removed 90% of the lore and removed the One Ring.
Yet on the small scale the prose is solid, better than most fantasy novels. I can see if someone were intrigued by the characters (and willing to overlook the wild inconsistencies) that this extremely slow drip feed of information leaves a lot of questions open to pull a reader into the next book. However my response at the end of this book is that it isn't even the first book in a trilogy, it is a prologue of over 500 pages that doesn't even manage a conclusion....more
Melinda Soto is murdered, and her killer commits suicide not too long after. This is the story of the grieving process of the people most closely connMelinda Soto is murdered, and her killer commits suicide not too long after. This is the story of the grieving process of the people most closely connected to them. It is told as long chapters covering the bereaved as the deaths receded into the past, with shorter interlude chapters describing a metaphorical comic book about the struggle between order and chaos.
The prose is stylistically minimalistic, which initially put me off as I found the characters to very shallow emotionally. I came to realize that was a mistake on my part. The immediate 1-second emotionally responses are indeed simple, however the book is portraying the grieving process over a time span of months where these instantaneous emotions are only a single stitch of a single thread in the broad tapestry of a person's life. The simple prose helps keep the focus away from the individual sentences and opens the reader to seeing a larger picture.
The comic book interludes are far weaker. The "order vs chaos" stories provide a rather heavy handed philosophical backdrop to the deaths. Some might be intrigued but they did nothing for me. On the other hand, the interludes are a much needed let up from the grief process, and I much appreciate them for that break....more
Magic fights in alternate L.A. Good pacing overcomes lots of inconsistent minor details. Builds to a specific climax, then author backs away from pullMagic fights in alternate L.A. Good pacing overcomes lots of inconsistent minor details. Builds to a specific climax, then author backs away from pulling the trigger and goes schmaltzy instead....more
Typical mixed goulash for the series. When the book ranks paperwork, cigar smoking, and tentacle rape as equally revolting I don't know how to respondTypical mixed goulash for the series. When the book ranks paperwork, cigar smoking, and tentacle rape as equally revolting I don't know how to respond. Joking that massively falls flat, or serious but completely tone deaf writing, or what?...more