Saturday, June 2, 2012
Review: On Dark Shores 2: The Other Nereia by JA Clement
While Nereria is unconscious, recuperating from the life-threatening wounds inflicted upon her by Copeland her mind it taken elsewhere where she meets a being bearing her face. This other Nereia wants her help in restoring this bizarre world but can only do so by taking control of Nereia’s body. Nereria is rightly sceptical but as a show of good faith the other Nereria heals the worst of her wounds. Copeland meanwhile is growing more unstable, a strange voice keeps telling him to do terrible things. The inhabitants of Scarlock are fearful, things have always been bad but before if they obeyed Copeland's laws they would be largely safe. Madam realizes that she is now in a position to oppose Copeland and starts to prepare for this confrontation. Meanwhile Copeland has put Blakey in charge of processing the angel's tears hoping that his dependence on the drug will be the death of him.
Many of the things Clement did well in the first novel are very evident here. The setting of Scarlock is certainly well realised and she can still create believable characters that grip the reader all in a minimal amount of words. However I would have liked to see some of these characters develop more, Blakey and Mary have so much potential but did not seem to develop to any degree.
The main problem is that the plot barely advances at all. Yes Nereria and Copeland have been cleverly manoeuvred into opposing positions by some outside forces but the rest of the characters felt like background information and their stories didn't move much. In that way the second book reads too much like a chapter in a larger work than a story in itself.
Overall Clement continues to create interesting settings and characters. However some of these characters feel grossly underutilized and the plot moved too little for my tastes. 6.25/10.