5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Broken Isles (Legends of the Red Sun 4) (Kindle Edition)
I hate to strike a negative note amongst such generally positive reviews, but I thought this whole series was pretty dreadful. I pressed on to the end, because there were some interesting concepts and promising characters struggling to emerge from the mess, but ultimately, the books are fundamentally flawed. The plot is contrived, the characters are largely superficial, narrative strands stumble into dead ends, and political issues are crassly hammered home with a complete lack of subtlety.
The latter point I found particularly jarring. I winced when a character used the the term "homo" pejoratively. I've seen homosexuality and the issues of prejudice tackled subtly and sympathetically in many fantasy novels, but here, those issues are beaten home with a club. Similarly, immigration, multiculturalism and chauvinism are tackled with an utter lack of finesse.
Dialogue is often strained, with moments of awkward exposition and misplaced contemporary jargon - "not on my watch", "landing bays". I groaned many times, and not pleasurably.
Characters suffer untimely ends, and nobody seems to really notice, robbing the reader of any emotional impact.
And yet... there are strengths. The "superhero" conceit from the previous instalment had real promise. Even that was squandered though, with plot holes and (this one again!), a lack of subtlety. The idea of creating "superheroes" in a quasi-medieval setting was clever, but did they really need to have costumes, just to ram the point home? In case anyone missed it, these are meant to be SUPERHEROES!!!! They're even referred to with that word in this novel (possibly the previous one too. I can't recall). The author needs to respect his audience and trust them to join the dots for themselves. And of course the plot holes... why just three "superheroes"? Why choose characters who are so obviously disinclined to obey authority? Those sorts of issues plague the whole series.
I look forward to reading this author in a decade or so. Currently, there's a distinct lack of maturity and experience evident in his writing. He would benefit immensely from some strong editorial feedback. I hope he's able to find a more consistent and nuanced style.