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Not as good as it could be
on 12 February 2012
I think this could have been a good book if the author had gone through a couple more redrafts, but as it was, it was disappointing. On the positive side it was well written and the sufficiently engaging to keep the pages turning. However for me there were two key issues: plot; and characterisation.
In terms of the plot aside from the initial action the core plot until at least 80% of the way through was simply a progressive reveal of the protagonist's back-story. The authors maintained the suspense by having characters refuse to tell the protagonist what was going on i.e. scene one, a character tells the protagonist something, but refuses to tell her more; scene two, move to another location and another character tells the protagonist something, but holds back on something else; scene three, move to a new location and first character tells protagonist a bit more, but still holds something back etc. Three quarters of the way through the book I was still wondering when the actual story was going to start and I'd say the vast majority of the novel was simply characters explaining the protagonist's situation.
The second issue was that few of the characters were fully developed. The protagonist was merely shaped by the events that happened around her and I had no sense of what she was like as a person. As she holds the story together the book really suffered from this weak characterisation and it she has not piqued my interest enough to want to read on in the series. Another main character, her grandmother, was confusing, seeming to flit between personalities in the way she responded to events. A further irritation was that whenever a character was surprised or scared they started to stammer, so throughout the book at least four different characters stammered in very unnatural-sounding dialogue.
By the end of the book I realised that this book was actually simply a set-up for the series and the back-story to pave the way for being able to now start the action. It's a shame because I do feel there are elements here that lend themselves to a promising series and with further editing this could have been a great book, but I'm afraid I'm not invested enough in the characters or this world to want to read on.