Top critical review
9 people found this helpful
Dreadful opening but it warms up
on 7 March 2013
The opening chapters of this are dire. Seriously. You get a token bit of unconvincing action followed by pages of backstory data dump. A bit more action then more download. Then more. The main characters, their life stories, their pets, breakfasts, car make... It is all TOLD as if the author had spent ages thinking up their backgrounds and then splurged it out. I didn't need to have this dumped on me. I wanted to have it shown to me, so I could work out for myself what kind of people they were. There's a character called Athena who the heroine dislikes. We are told this right at the beginning. We are never SHOWN why - just TOLD the woman is bad tempered and dislikes anyone who isn't a Mage. She crops up regularly being unreasonable and bad tempered, but I never felt I understood the problem in their relationship because I only saw the result. And the heroine is such a rude intolerant grump that I sympathised with Athena a great deal.
This irritating writing style continues unrelieved for over a quarter of the book. I really struggled to stay with it. Then the plot started to develop and the master vampire turns up (he ends up being the most interesting character, mainly because he has a bit more depth). He is obviously an honourable character.
By halfway through things are much more interesting. Our heroine is finally doing more than petting her cat and ferret (I'm guessing the author is an animal lover) and eating carbohydrates (more of the author's interests?). The sidekick is more than a brother figure. The master vampire is gaumless enough to have several turncoats in his organisation. There has been a bit more action (but not enough).
The last half of the book was really quite readable - I got more attached to the three leads and became interested in the situation. The finale definitely grabbed my attention, although I felt it was an error to have the tough-cookie-female lead tied up immobile having to be rescued. It was also a brave move to use Athena's viewpoint for a scene during the finale. Not sure if it worked.
I have no idea if this is a first novel, but it sure felt that way. It was like watching someone learn how to write an action scene, how to write a backstory, how to develop a plot. By the end, the writing was definitely hitting a workable level. I would be interested to try the 2nd in the series to see if the learning curve continues.
We all start off bad at everything - driving, cooking, speaking another language, writing novels... It is always a pleasure to see someone getting up to speed.