Top critical review
Disappointing after book 1.
23 July 2018
I was very disappointed having enjoyed book one in the series. I give it three stars as I actually finished it though I nearly gave up. There was no clear route through it, just a meandering of episodes, often following up the less interesting characters and beginning but dropping more interesting ones, e.g. Lolla’s disappearance ending with her coming back- how amazing. No characters were well developed, just repetitively described, many being pantomime characters of evil or good, and I didn’t really care if Merthyr and Caris ended up together or not, especially as their link seemed to be all about their sexual connection which seemed unlikely to survive. There was a bit of a theme about women’s lives with Caris’s choices and Gwenda’s treatment, but it was hard not to see these subjects as being an opportunity for the author to dwell on another rape scene. Trying to picture the characters I realised I knew more about the shapes of their breasts and privates than their outward appearance. There was no real explanation for Ralph’s cruelty, except that as his son was cruel too it must be inherited. Some of the characters perspectives seemed modern and unlikely for people immersed in the period. I found it hard to believe that this book was the work of the same author that wrote the first.
A book of this size had plenty space to develop characters and depth in the story but this skimmed along and was unsatisfying for that reason.