2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nice ideas but poor execution,
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This review is from: The Broken Isles (Legends of the Red Sun 4) (Kindle Edition)
I generally don't write reviews of books as they are very much a personal preference for who like and dislikes a novel or series of books. However, I felt that I needed to comment on this series as it leaves me feeling like an opportunity missed. I enjoyed the first and felt it was going to really develop however by the end of the second I was deflated and lost my enthusiasm for the series. I pressed on though to see where it went, if it could regain its momentum and how it would end. Although I'm happy that I did, I'd also not be too distressed if I'd never come across the series.
Firstly the plot throughout the series jumps around in focus a lot (forgive me if I get the flow a little mixed between books but goes to show how jarring unbalancing the changeds are). The first book aims more toward a potential political intrigue and thriller elements with Jeryd, Brynd & the Jamur royal family. The second then slams this into a completely different direction with a more fantastical elements akin to the Riftwar series. The third swings more to the political again whilst trying to mesh in the other world elements. The forth swings round into more action oriented to bring the elements to a close. It's not consistent and when the changes in tempo happen they are jarring and to my personal inclination annoying in their application.
Also there are a number of clichéd scenes included, one in particular where a set of characters escape being surrounded by soldiers made me actually audibly sigh with exasperation.
As others have mentioned there are a number of plot holes that are never developed or explained and there are a number of redundant plot threads that are never followed up on (maybe for another series of follow on books?) There are a number of deus ex machina devices deployed throughout the book which if explored further could have added real depth to the series, but once used to explain the move from A to B they are generally not touched on again bar a passing mention or explained in any further detail. Again as one review touched on the final book is the worst for this as so much of the third book proves to be pointless in the overall flow of the series and is hardly referred to in the final book
The fourth book feels rushed as it rushes to wrap up the series. There is no real feeling of anticipation or wondering what will happen next in the final battle and considering the build up they give to the enemy you'd have thought that this should be a real epic battle but I never got the feeling that they were in any danger.
My biggest bug bear though are the characters and this is because so many of them had potential to be much better than they are. The general feeling I was left with was that the author started writing several but grew most attached to Brynd and neglected the others. He is the central character to this story and all others really get pushed to the background as things go on. Many of the characters are given complex backgrounds or issues that could really flesh them out but too often they appear to overcome these a little too easily and once resolved never bother them again. The worst however, is that numerous characters are dispatched or are relegated to secondary characters in a very off hand and careless manner. Its done in such a way that the reader feels no empathy for their loss from the story and leads to a disassociation from the book as a whole where you no longer take in an interest to what might happen to the other characters. In general it feels to me that the author had a specific plot role for them to fill and then once that had been completed had no further ideas on what to do with them or time to integrate them into the rest of the story. Once they've completed their story arc they are cast aside and, much like the earlier plot points noted above, never really mentioned again. No one mentions they are missing, wonders what they are up to or that they miss them.
I don't wish to rag on the series entirely though as I said initially there were a lot of nice, original ideas to interest me and keep me wondering and it was these that kept me reading on hoping that they'd go somewhere or develop but unfortunately they don't in this case. It is this that really frustrated me and ultimately left me disappointed in these books. I don't know if the author was pushed for time or just didn't want to delve into things in too much detail but this could have been a rich and engaging world that alone could have stretched this series out for several more books but as it is we are left with these four books that feel a little mismatched and underwhelming.