Top critical review
18 people found this helpful
Expansive universe! Unfortunately you go through at light speed
on 30 May 2012
If I could give this three and half stars I would. Its more than okay! I just wouldn't shout and scream about it. The trouble was I wanted to.
I was a great fan of the Abhorsen trilogy which I read many years ago now, as Nix has an excellent mind for creating worlds that are deep and creative. They suck you in, making you wonder how no one has ever thought of it before, and you'll be pleased to know he has done it again. The future setting and its possibilities are endless, so endless its almost a sin that the book was so few pages because the plot felt rushed and skipped about.
Before I go into detail of why this didn't hit the mark, anyone who likes a quick action filled sci fi read. Definitely read this. It has augmented princes (anyone a fan of deus ex knows how diverse and fun augmentations can be), assassin priests, and even a small romance for good measure. Generally all good ingredients to make an exciting book. It delivers this with battles, tension and the unknown, as you start off as oblivious as the main character about how everything works. This would have worked better if he wasn't up himself and full of angst. You do learn to like him but this is why it is a slow start.
The plot in itself wasn't terrible, it had its twists and turns however much of it is very predictable. There are parts of the book that really hit the mark as they are descriptive enough to help you gather exactly what is going on, even in a completely alien situation. You feel for the character and their desire allowing the book flow, making you turn page after page, then it jumps a huge expanse of time again. Completely disjointing you (except the couple of times its warranted). Leaving you with a sense of being cheated at potentially good reading material.
I could have understood these jumps in time and details if there was perhaps another character to follow, or some greater over arching plot that we were only supposed to catch glimmers of.
Though still even now I have faith. Garth Nix has created an amazing new universe with some unique combinations that work! I agree with others that this should definitely not be his last venture into this setting. He is only just finding his way with it. Look what he did after Sabriel. Now he has set the scene he may be able to weave a more complex story into one or two more books. (I personally thing it would be an amazing MMO - but lets keep to the books for now)
In conclusion -
Was it a good read - Yes
Did it hit the mark I expected after Abhorsen Trilogy - No
Was it complex enough for older readers - No
Would I recommend - Yes as I believe there will be others (and they will be much improved)