Top critical review
Over violent and did not captivate
on 19 November 2013
I'd be lying if I said I thoroughly enjoyed this novel although it had it's fair share of "moments". It centred on young Jeremiah; a mute half Elwyn/norm whose only talent was to play an inscribed silver flute which he did nightly in the scuzzy bar of his brutish landlord / guardian, Ezra. For him daily life was about survival, being easy prey for the violent gang members who roamed the town with alacrity hunting down Elwyn or anyone else who crossed their path just for fun.
At first I thought the book was based in some middle earth-type land but when they began jumping into vans, clad in jeans and packing Glocks, the vision was muddied and a bit baffling to be honest. Ogres and guns don't really mix if you ask me and the author failed to set the scene to any great extent. We were dropped into the ubiquitous "Dystopian fantasy" in a city of no name, time or even planet inhabited by creatures about whom we were told little. The running theme was pure violence and hatred and this made initially it quite a tedious read as it basically lurched from fight to fight with bucketloads of claret spilt in every chapter. Jeremiah was a pretty colourless individual and his kin were a dour and pretty spiteful lot who knew of his "destiny" but strangely seemed indifferent to helping him with so much at stake. It was difficult to empathise with, and thus really root for the "good" guys in this sadly.
I'm not one for excessive padding in a novel but do feel the author skimmed on details for whatever reason. Agreed it is up to the reader to work with an author's book to imagine their own vision (that's the beauty of reading) but we are given scant detail regarding the land and it's characters and if you blinked you could easily miss pivotal moments in the plot. Overall, this novel definitely had a decent story but the telling of it could have been improved with an injection of warmth and humour and the dull cover does it no favours either.