Walter Mitchell's Reviews > The Erstwhile

The Erstwhile by Brian Catling
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it was ok

Picking up The Erstwhile, unaware there had been a sequel, I found myself remarkably excited to rejoin the characters of The Vorrh despite all the complaints I'd registered with them, often out loud to my patient girlfriend.

And for a while I wasn't disappointed -- Catling (or maybe his editor) wisely placed a focus on recapping past events, so diving back into the convoluted plot was more fun than frustrating. Catling has a strength for small, memorable details that grow into a world from one twisted root, and I loved collecting them.

By the middle I'd soured again. As before his characters are so lacking in clear motivation as to appear transparent, especially and must infuriatingly his women. I can think of one female character who was not (arguably) wholly defined by her dedication to, fear of, or attraction to a man. Abuse and rape are once again employed for shock value, utterly without purpose or comment from Catling. That is not something I can get on board with.

In the end I felt I was more engaged with the author -- "What are you doing with this? Why, though?" -- than the characters, and my frustrations were only aggravated by an ending that left most story threads dangling and frayed. You can't call it a cliff-hanger if I have nothing to look forward to.
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Reading Progress

June 25, 2018 – Started Reading
June 25, 2018 – Shelved
July 5, 2018 – Finished Reading

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