I certainly enjoyed this one. The universe and world building was quite original and well done, the characters were likeable, there was some well doneI certainly enjoyed this one. The universe and world building was quite original and well done, the characters were likeable, there was some well done humor, as well as some truly adorable and some pretty good romantic moments.
While this wasn't a book of spectacular depth, it wasn't trying to be. I happen to think there's a place for good 'escapist' literature. This novel did make use of certain cliches of the romance genre (e.g. the 'ultimate' alpha male 'tamed' by a tiny female), but despite this the author did manage to keep these from grating on the reader. (IMHO)
All in all, this was good fun and pure escapism! ...more
**spoiler alert** (PLEASE NOTE THAT ADULT TOPICS ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS REVIEW. The following review contains discussion material not suitable for mino**spoiler alert** (PLEASE NOTE THAT ADULT TOPICS ARE DISCUSSED IN THIS REVIEW. The following review contains discussion material not suitable for minors.)
All in all I was disapointed with this one. I explain why below -this largely had to do with the ending of the book.
Good points: The world building was quite original and interesting. The main characters were likeable. The plot moved along pretty well for most of the book.
Bad points: The most jarring element was the ending of the book. In other words, it was a non ending.
Spoiler warnings... * * * * * * By the end of the book, it wasn't clear why the main character had had previous knowledge of the soul-reaper Gahiji and why he had tried to kill her (had he been afraid that Dana might have fingered him to her?). It wasn't clear why (Was there a reason other than chance? This wasn't clear either...) her mother had been killed by Joe Marin. The particular god behind Gahiji's defection was not revealed. The reason why other factions (e.g. Xaphan's concubines) would have had any interest in Dana (i.e. was it merely because Sutekh's minions as well as Gahiji and other minions of the other unrevealed god acting against Sutekh were interested in her?). It wasn't clear why the main character had a pendant of Aset (it had been suggested that generally the daughters of Aset didn't have pendants, so why did she and her mother both have these?). The reason for the main character's mother leaving her/abandoning her as a child was never provided.
Er... Do we begin to see a pattern here?
I DESPISE endings that feel like a manipulation -i.e. you MUST buy the other book(s) in the series in order to have any basic answers with regards to the novel.
I will also reproduce here what I consider to be an ending vs. a non ending in a continuing book series.
While it is all right and even desirable to have a continuing storyline if one intends to write sequel(s) to follow the current novel, having a novel in which the major plot points of the story are in no way resolved and which leaves the reader feeling as though they read only part of a book is simply annoying.
For example, consider the following two (silly!) plots. In the first, two hypothetical main characters (Tweedledee and Tweedledum) find their dog's murderer and hand him over to the authorities. Unfortunately, they also find clues which suggest he was part of a larger conspiracy of dog-hating catlovers. This larger conspiracy is left to be explored in further novels. The novel ends with T&T tearfully burying their beloved pet.
In the second, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are racing to find their beloved dog's killer. A clue suggests he might have a house in Scarborough, Ontario. They are rushing to find the man and enter his house when something goes boom. The novel ends.
Of these two plots, which would you say constitutes a complete novel?
My point here is that many novels take the second route and try to make readers keep reading by publishing one novel as two or more separate novels. This is highly annoying to me, as a reader. The talented writer will manage to keep me reading *without* such (cheap) artifice. This novel by Silver has an 'ending' (I use the term loosely here) which resembles the second scenario. Very frustrating.
Anyways, JMHO. (And as a PS: I am a dog lover who also likes cats. So please don't flame me on that account.)
As a further point, it was somewhat jarring for me to notice that the three brothers of the murdered soul reaper did not consider the necessity of finding his Ka (as well as all his body parts) in order to reanimate him. In other words, the Ka aspect of the reanimation of a soul reaper was not considered until the end of the novel... Which doesn't make sense when one is 'looking into' the thoughts of individuals who are powerful soul reapers in their own rights (i.e. so this felt like a plot element that was 'tacked on' at the end by the author, as well as representing an inconsistency).
WARNINGS: ADULT TOPICS DISCUSSED BELOW. * * * * * Finally, another comment is with regards to a sex scene which takes place during a joint dream shared by the main character and her love interest. While I understand that, in the mythology of this novel, the heart of a person held or had an essential link to their soul, it did not change the fact that the sex scene I am thinking of was incredibly jarring.
The scene in question started as a pretty standard or run-of-the-mill sex scene before morphing into something heavily gruesome: the man winds up ripping her heart out of her chest, after which they continue to have sex while bathed in blood.
Um, yuck. I found this jarring -I don't think I'm a prude by any means, but I didn't find this erotic. Just gruesome, really. And while I understand the symbolism attached it felt rather like it came out of left field.
A final annoyance, which is something I have seen in all too many romance novels (both good and bad). Why is it that romance authors *insist* on writing sex scenes where vaginal intercourse is the be-all and end-all of all sexual activity??? I know many a man (gay or straight!) who enjoys oral sex for its own sake. So why, in every single heterosexual sex scene in romance novels, is it the case that a woman may begin performing fellatio on a man but this will almost inevitably be stopped by said man in order to switch to vaginal intercourse? I do not understand this and do not find this very realistic (in general I have to admit that I tend to find romance novel sex scenes to be both dull and repetitive).