Damn it, this one would have been amazing had it been finished. Such a promising premise and start. Also, Hornblower was totally planning on taking BuDamn it, this one would have been amazing had it been finished. Such a promising premise and start. Also, Hornblower was totally planning on taking Bush with him.
I found this book easier to put down than Lieutenant or Hotspur, but all that really reveals is that I am perhaps more fond of the Bush/Hornblower dynI found this book easier to put down than Lieutenant or Hotspur, but all that really reveals is that I am perhaps more fond of the Bush/Hornblower dynamic than Forester intends me to be. Bush isn't in this installation at all, and I like it less simply on account of his absence.
Personal preference aside, the plot twists are inventive and exciting, the new characters are interesting if not a bit too peripheral/under-used (I was hoping to see a little more of the German prince!) and Hornblower's character development makes a lot of sense, though at times I found myself outright disliking him, which is a first for me. (Hey, nobody's perfect, no plan ever plays out entirely to the letter, and isn't the service all about having to choose the lesser of two weevils, anyway?) Hornblower's final -- "confrontation" -- with the Turks is probably the most suspenseful scene of any book I've read in a long time, even if it does feel rather roughly penned; and the tragic last few paragraphs concerning Hornblower's children are a jolting, terribly clever reminder of the book's central theme. (Who would have guessed the ultimate significance of the allusion to Atropos?)
I'm so happy I finally decided to work my way through this series; I'm really enjoying it so far. ...more
Gotta agree with many other reviewers here: while the half-medieval, half-modern world is an interesting idea and the plot has some neat twists (in thGotta agree with many other reviewers here: while the half-medieval, half-modern world is an interesting idea and the plot has some neat twists (in the second half of the book, anyway), the characters aren't too fleshed out. They make sense, and you know enough about them to appreciate that they never really act OUT of character; but they aren't very creatively realized characters all the same. This, coupled with the fact that I never really felt like I was allowed inside any of their heads, not even Sabriel's, made them distractingly bland, even though I wanted to like (most of) them.
I might read more books in this series to learn more about the magic system, the Free Magic versus Charter Magic set-up. I think said set-up might have some cool metaphysical implications worth thinking about. I'm definitely not averse to Nix's anti-anticlimactic plots, either, despite the sometimes tedious prose they're packaged in, and so long as the beginnings of his other books are not as slow as this one's is.
I do like Nix's work overall! But the whole distractingly-bland-characters-thing lessens my enthusiasm for it....more