It starts out a bit slow and then picks up speed about halfway through. Its got some good banter and the voice acting is well done. Worth a listen if...moreIt starts out a bit slow and then picks up speed about halfway through. Its got some good banter and the voice acting is well done. Worth a listen if you're a fan.(less)
Overall I found this book very underwhelming. It has a bit of a fairytale like quality to it, but there never really seems to be much of a sense of ur...moreOverall I found this book very underwhelming. It has a bit of a fairytale like quality to it, but there never really seems to be much of a sense of urgency to it and I found the characters a bit flat.(less)
This book was light and entertaining. Not deep reading by any means but after the parade of romance that seems to be choking YA, a decent journey of t...moreThis book was light and entertaining. Not deep reading by any means but after the parade of romance that seems to be choking YA, a decent journey of the hero was a welcome change. There's some plot holes, but nothing too unforgivable. The main character, Tristan, has some major flaws, especially in regards to women (he's a man-slut), but he makes attempts at improving and he's doesn't seem deliberately malicious about it. Fortunately female characters seem to be decently good at not letting him get away with things. They force him to grovel for forgiveness at several points in the story. It gives his character room to grow, anyway.
The first half the book can be summed up as: ZOMG I'm a merman! Mom, why did you have to be the girliest of all supernatural creatures?! Which then moves into: collect three magical items before the other champions do. Oh and there's monsters, so try not to get eaten. Fortunately Tristan, is rather well adjusted so we're spared the emo pouts and there's some pretty funny dialog.
The world building is interesting. I liked the fact that the coastal supernaturals paid tribute to the Sea King for protection and I get the feeling that the politics of the merfolk have just barely begun to be explored.
The big drawback to this book was the fact that there was no real resolution. The words: TO BE CONTINUED all but parade across the page. To be fair, Tristan does come to a personal resolution as far as his feelings towards the quest go. He's finally accepted the quest for himself rather than doing it because he has no choice in the matter. (less)
Best book in the series so far. Darker than the previous books, but in a good way. We finally get to see what all the clues in the previous books have...moreBest book in the series so far. Darker than the previous books, but in a good way. We finally get to see what all the clues in the previous books have been leading up to and the Sheperdess finally makes her move as an antagonist. (less)
Ghost stories have always been a favorite of mine, and I find ghost hunting shows a bucket of amusing, so when I saw this book was written by a local...moreGhost stories have always been a favorite of mine, and I find ghost hunting shows a bucket of amusing, so when I saw this book was written by a local author I had to pick it up. While not quite what I'd hoped (I admittedly have rather high standards), this book is a good way to kill time.
I found the first few chapters rather rough. The story was trying to allude to too many things at once without giving anything away which made the beginning of story seem rather scattered, and it was easy to figure out Zach's power and what was going on with the local informants. This however didn't detract too much from enjoying the story since the events and writing improved greatly once the story got into the actual investigation portion. The cast is a bit large, and with everyone being introduced at once it was a little bit difficult to keep track of who everyone was at times. Luckily there were only a few characters who you really had to know who they were. Presumably the rest of the cast will become more developed as the series goes on.
Overall the story is enjoyable and fast paced and the mystery is interesting. This book is a good choice is you're looking for light reading.(less)
The summary here seems to be for the series as a whole as very little of what they tell you on the back here has much to do with three quarters of the...moreThe summary here seems to be for the series as a whole as very little of what they tell you on the back here has much to do with three quarters of the book. Also, there is no imperial intrigue, everyone seems to know gryphons exist and the gryphons never left the world setting. But as the author probably doesn't have much control over what they put there, let's not hold that against them shall we? Just make a note of it.
While there are some interesting premises in this book, the story suffers from some serious problems. The least of which is the world setting. There is little to no description of it. You never get a feel for the magic system, or what kinds of creatures exist in this fantasy realm. For most of the book the only supernatural creatures you run into are the gryphons and some strange smelly beasts that people ride and are never described. Then at the end of the book, surprise! The imperial army has flying horses. Why were only hearing about these now?! And why is the imperial army there anyway? They were barely mentioned until then they have nothing to do with what's been happening in the book.
The author is clearly so familiar with the world setting that she forgot to establish it for the rest of us. Even now I'm not sure what the baskets that the main characters rode about in the entire book look like, or how they're carried. They're apparently boat-like, but whether they're carried on the gryphon's back, or carried below the gryphon like a hand basket is still a mystery to me. They might be suspended between the gryphons... I'm guessing this because of a throwaway comment at the end of the book.
I'm rather disappointed that the editors didn't catch this.
Another of the major problems this book has is the characters. They have no depth.Most of them have no motive other than "the plot demands it." One character who was previously on their side turns out to be plotting against them but there's no rhyme or reason to them switching sides. In the beginning of the story, Vidarian tells the priestess to bind the emeralds to his life force, but there's no reason for him to do this, no inner thoughts to tell us why he would think this is a good idea. I actually went back and reread that paragraph to see if I had missed something. Unfortunately I hadn't. The romance in the story is flat because of the lack of character development. The characters just rush from one place to another with little inner growth. Although some of them gain new abilities, they remain static in all other respects.
At best, this book is inconsistent. Important plot elements, like the genetic problem mentioned on the back of the book aren't mentioned until one of the characters begins to suffer from said disorder. It was as if the author suddenly realized that she needed a reason for one of the other characters to decide on the earth shattering choice and could find no other way to make them do it other than to put one of the other members of the party in danger. If the genetic disorder had been mentioned earlier it could have been used to create suspense and worry for the characters, but instead it just popped out of the blue. This isn't the only incident where this sort of problem occurs. Because of the thin world building and lack of time establishing the characters, the story just runs about with things popping up out of nowhere to force the characters to go somewhere, meet someone, or to do something. In this sense the characters are all very passive. They wander aimlessly until forced to do things by outside elements. The only character who actually makes a decision is Vidarian, and that occurs maybe three times in 273 pages.
According to the author's notes, this book was based off a shared online text RP story, and I have to say it shows. The constant dashing about from one interesting thing to the next interesting thing is very characteristic of online RPs as well as new plot elements popping up out of nowhere. While this works well online in a shared universe and makes for an interesting game, it doesn't translate to prose very well. In prose, you have to ground your reader in the universe. You have to establish the rules of that universe and if you break them you have to justify it. You can't suddenly have something pop up that all the characters knew about beforehand and worried about but not tell the reader until after it happened. It's just poor storytelling.
That said, the world setting has the opportunity to be unique. The magic system form what little was shown was different and has the potential to be really interesting. If the characters develop more as the series progresses, it'll be interesting to see just how they react to the changes and situations they find them in. But this book isn't at that point yet. I have a feeling that this series may get better, but I think I'll wait and see if it gets better before buying the next book in this series.(less)
The plot itself was interesting enough for the most part. The idea of multiple versions of the city was interesting, but I wish they had been explored...moreThe plot itself was interesting enough for the most part. The idea of multiple versions of the city was interesting, but I wish they had been explored a bit more. The story goes by so fast that there's little room for the setting or the characters to really develop or for a sense of setting to really be established. The action never stops though, and this makes the book a quick read. Plot-wise, the last few chapters were the weakest in the sense that they were far too predictable.
Character wise is where the story suffers. The characters were fairly flat and static throughout the book. The reader is told about each character in an info dump in the beginning, but some of the things we're told are never shown and others don't have any effect on the story. The main character's daughter has about as much character development as a captured princess. There was a lot of potential for interesting character development with the two leads, or at least interesting interactions but instead they're constantly rushing from place to place with barely any conversation and little internal monologue.
If you want an interesting plot and lots of action and aren't bothered by stock characters, you'll probably at least be amused this book. It, if nothing else, is a decent way to pass the time. I recommend it for waiting rooms and airplanes.(less)