Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Un-reviews

It’s only been two months since I last gave up on a book. The book I quit at the time was Amber Benson’s death’s daughter. As I said then, the protagonist was one of the most annoying I’d ever come across in my readings over the years and I couldn’t stand to hear her in my head any longer.

Earlier in the year, it was The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd, which simply didn’t click with me in any way. The characters weren’t logical and I just couldn’t connect with anything in the story. The story was too muddled and I got the sense things were thrown against the wall to see what stuck. Shame because I wanted to like it. I got a general "this doesn't make sense" feel to alot of the story – Lloyd seemed as if he wanted to arrive at certain plot points but how he got there weren't logical enough for me. Also, the names of the characters and places just didn't work for me either. I can usually overlook this in the genre (Epic/High/Secondary World Fantasy is probably my favorite subgenre), but here it added to the muddled and cluttered logic of the novel. This is the first book from Pyr that did not work for me in any way shape or form.

Yesterday, I stopped reading Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs just shy of the halfway point. I really don't like giving up on books since I go into every book hoping to enjoy the book. First off, the book wasn't really inviting to new readers. The first third or so of the book seemed to be a reaction to events that transpired in the previous volume – series protagonist Mercy Thompson killing a Vampire and the fallout from the Vampire Community against her. Too much of the book relies on prior events such that a one page recap of the previous novel(s) in the series informing readers of how the characters arrived at the beginning of Bone Crossed would have helped a great deal. (Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy had one of these in the back and Tad Williams's series books always have a recap page.)

Despite not having a full handle on all the characters, some of the events were choreographed and very predictable. For example, Mercy left her home in the Tri-Cities to stay with her friend, Amber while the werewolves can meet/reason with the Head Vampire of the Tri-Cities area so that Mercy isn’t killed. Mercy is told by her wolf pack and vampire pal told to avoid a vampire of even more power and evil (Blackwood) who lives in the same town as Amber. Well wouldn't you know it Amber's husband brings home Blackwood for dinner to do some work related business on the very same day Mercy shows up at Amber's door.

Also, there's barely a hint that Mercy is a shapeshifter (were-coyote as it were) aside from her and the other characters telling us this fact. We don't really see her in coyote form for the majority of the first half of the novel.

The book isn't necessarily bad. The story flows well enough and the characters interact fairly genuinely. While I'm sure the book will work for folks who have been reading along since Mercy's first novel, for me I just couldn't read any further.

Now, all three of these books were sent to me from their respective publishers as I’m on their review lists. Since I didn’t finish any of them, I didn’t feel I could justify doing a real review of them. On the other hand, I don’t want to do only reviews of books I liked so I guess the compromise is to write posts like this.

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