Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The various sub-plots were a nice touch that worked really well in keeping the pace moving at a good clip. They provided minor resolutions across the novel and all tied quite nicely into the central plot.
As with the first book the story is very character driven with Duchess firmly in the center. I think a lot of writers lose sight of this and is one of this series greatest strengths. Some very interesting supporting characters were introduced, all very much with agendas of their own.
Again the world-building is strong and unobtrusive.
Overall the second book in this series builds nicely on it's predecessor and goes on to top it. 8.75/10.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Like the two previous books in the series this one two focuses on a character's backstory, this time Jardir's first wife Inevera who played a vital role in his rise to power. This does lead into this books biggest problem, very slow pacing. With most of the events in the present forming a calm before the storm backtracking over events already covered from another character's point of view was not the wisest choice.
Character development is well maintained with most of the central characters growing and developing as events of the series begin to effect them. We also get a slightly deeper look into the corelings society which does add to the world already developed.
Overall although suffering from some serious pacing issues Brett is able to develop a solid read if somewhat less than what I expected from the two previous volumes. 7/10
Friday, November 1, 2013
The adage of writing what you know is an old one but one that applies well in this novel's case. Brooks was a lawyer before becoming a writer and his able to bring a level believability to Ben Holiday that I have never seen from any of his characters before. The support characters all also well portrayed being an interesting mixture of charming quirks and very human faults.
The concept is an interestingly refreshing one and combined with some solid world-building keeps things interesting.Pacing is well controlled and I was glad to see Brooks habit of overly describing meals is toned down.
Overall I probably enjoyed this novel more than Brooks Shannara series and I think he did too and it shows. 8/10.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Like the previous novels in the series the narrative is divided into parts, four in this case. Again the Amara/Bernard one felt like the weakest to me as Amara has regressed as a character since the first novel, though her storyline was better paced this time around. Otherwise character growth is reasonably strong especially for Tavi and Gauis and surprisingly Lord Aquitaine who becomes a much more rounded charater.
There were a few issues early on with the narrative which I found distracting. The worst of these was the use of etc, which doesn't fit with the world Butcher has created and should have been weeded out in editing.
A strong point in the novel is the sheer amount of action that happens and it definitely feels like we heading towards a conclusion in the series.
Overall despite my continued problems with Amara's character and a few minor issues Butcher delivers a solid read. 8/10.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Like her previous novels Griffin is able to inject a good degree of humour without detracting from the overall serious tone of the novel. My favourite aspect of the first book in the series, and what set it apart from the Matthew Swift books, was the degree to which the support characters were developed. Griffin does the same again here but extends it to the antagonists, which really makes for some interesting 'grey' characters.
Pacing is again fast and well controlled with short sharp chapters.
Overall Griffin does an excellent job of building on the good work she did in her first Magicals Anonymous book. 8.75/10.
I'm glad to see Sanderson toned down his attempts at humor which were so distracting and didn't gel with the story of the first Infinity blade novella. Aside from the main story there are various interludes that take place in our near future and the infinity blade universes distant past which shed light on one of the primary characters and is a nice piece of plotting that sets up the finale. Character development was well worked for all three primary characters.
Overall the second infinity blade novella works better than the original. 7.25/10.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Like the first novel Gyan remains the star of the show and the various tensions she has to deal with lead to some very strong character development. Both Artry and Angusel face their own obstacles and their development is equally well handled. While there are certainly moments when both Urien and Morghe hint at more depth for the most part they are remain driven by selfishness and remain one-dimensional. The minor villains in the piece were actually much better fleshed out than these two and made for more compelling characters.
Pacing in the first quarter of the book is a tad slow but after this point it picks up and is well controlled for the remainder of the story. I love the way Headlee infuses historic languange to really flesh out the cultures and history of her world.
Overall strong characters, good pacing and a vibrant world make for a compelling read. I would still like to see the main villains fleshed out more. 8/10.