Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
Good in places but slow to get there.
on 2 March 2012
Though spoiled by the occasional clumsy sentence and in need of a touch more editing, this reads quite well. Still, I struggled to finish it, and that was mostly down to the slow pace. Some reviewers found this a benefit, but I was tempted to give up on it at some points. All the elements for a good plot are there - the mysterious sword, the strange mark that it makes, and so on - but the links between them are so drawn out that the sense of mystery and tension that they should generate was largely lost.
The characters were detailed, but somehow unconvincing - they seemed to me to be driven by the plot. Myranda, for example, only seems capable of anger when the story requires her to lose her temper. At other times, she's shown as a tough but essentially gentle person, without the depths from which anger could arise.
Another concern was the background. A good fantasy has a rich and detailed world underlying it - as complete as possible in its culture, its history, its economy and so on. I had no sense of this at all. The background seemed merely sketched in - a long war, three kingdoms united in an Alliance run by various generals - and that was about it. To me, it made the entire story feel shallow.
Which is a pity, because there are some very good bits in it. Some of the descriptions are very atmospheric. Myranda's struggles to survive in the cold wilderness are well described, and the climatic test of her magical abilities is vivid, exciting and imaginative.
Worth reading as a free book, and many readers will enjoy it. To me, however, it needs to be tightened up and trimmed down to increase the pace and tension.