Top positive review
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Mixed bag - better book, derailed series
on 6 June 2010
Okay, first the good. The book itself is something of a return to form. Benefitting immensely in pace by shedding about 40% of the flab from the second and third books whilst actually seeing more plot movement. This continues to be a character-driven series and there is a welcome return for Angus Lok as well as more action for Raif, Effie and Raina. The basis of the storyline - Raif's ability to heart-kill - is as good as most fantasy novels and is nicely expanded here. All good, well written, engaging characters, and a sense of progress that has been missed. There is still a woeful lack of interaction between the main characters which means that the various plots run almost independently, which is a crying shame, and it still isn't clear what purpose some of them serve.
The bad mostly, to me anyway, stinks of weak editorial work and poor planning across the series. I'll put the interminable ages between books to one side (we wouldn't care if the series was rubbish after all!). But the first book was sold as the first of a trilogy. This is book four and I presume there's at least one more because there's not a great deal of sense of events drawing to a conclusion yet. So a trilogy it is not! The first three books were massive doorstops and this one is nearer half the size (at an obscenely over-priced £20 hardcover, mind you). Thankfully it cuts out most of the dull travelling that made the third book such a mediocre read, but I can't help feeling that the great concepts from book one have started to get lost in a series which has run out of control. There has been so much irrelevant flab that I can't help but think that a good editor would have ensured it was a trilogy - and then it would have ranked among the best, which it now doesn't.
I'll read the next book, but I'll hope it's the last too.