Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: Stray Souls by Kate Griffin

Sharon Li's has unexpectedly discovered she is a Shaman. For an instant she was one with the city, knew every detail about everything then suddenly it was gone. She decides to create a support-group Magicals Anonymous for people who have had similarly strange experiences. This group quickly comes to the attention of Matthew Swift, the midnight mayor, who needs a shaman's help in trying to find souls which seem to have gone missing throughout the city, including the very powerful Greydawn.

Like in her Matthew Swift books Griffin's descrpitions of life in London make it an interesting character in it's own right. Sharon is an accessible and well developed protagonist  but where this book really excels is the development of the support characters. Each one gets their own few pages to essentially describe themselves which works brilliantly. Short-sharp chapters keep the pacing ticking along nicely throughout. I enjoyed seeing Matthew Swift in a supporting role and love the potential with having the two series running concurrently.

In sum Griffin delivers a great novel yet again and shows real skill in developing a lively group of characters. 8.5/10.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Review: The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

Tahn is a young woodsman living in a small village at the edge of the world. For reasons unknown to him his childhood is a blur and he feels compelled to utter a phrase each time he draws his bow and greet each dawn. One day creatures out of myth descend on his village and target Tahn and his sister Wendra. Tahn is forced to put his trust in a pair of mysterious strangers and flee his village.

To put it bluntly this book was an absolute chore to read and only sheer bloodymindedness got me through it. It wasn't so much the recycled plot lines, I've read Terry Brooks and enjoyed his work, but the poor quality of the writing that put me off. The characters were all wooden and Orullian failed to make me care about them at all. The dialogue is clumsy and the prose feels like it is trying to be something it's not,though does improve slightly as the novel progresses. While there is a lot of world-building going on there is never enough development to truly grasp the details. This feels like a writer's first attempt at a novel and if I read it as part of a writting group I would say Orullian had potential but needed to write a few more to get to a point of being publishable. Why TOR decided to print and market this book so strongly is beyond me.

Overall Peter Orullian's debut is plagued with problems and I would have to advise giving this one a miss. 4/10.