Saturday, August 1, 2015

Review: The Hollow Queen by Elizabeth Haydon

Having given up part of her true name to protect her infant son Rhapsody has been able to join the war against the merchant emperor Talquist , though very important aspects of her personality and memories are now lost to her. Achmed has decided to try and assassinate Talquist himself, though this may not be enough to stop the war even if he is successful. Ashe has left the continent in an effort to gain the sea mages aid in the war and Grunthor stands guard over the sleeping child as a demon housed in an elemental stone body seeks to use the child to open the vault to the underworld.

The main problem with this novel is very uneven pacing and stems from several issues. The first 50 pages or so are spent recapping which is highly frustrating and prevents any early momentum in the story. I could understand doing that in the previous book with the almost decade long wait between that but it makes little sense now and these pages could have been utilized.

After that everything feels like its in a rush. On a few occasions we are brought to the beginning of a battle only to then be taken to the aftermath. Thus actually trying to visualize the war and how it is being fought is almost impossible.

Some very big moments that have been built up for several books are over in a few pages and makes many of the antagonists seem incompetent to an extreme.

Having said all that the lifeblood of this series, the wonderfully realized cast of characters and the relationships that have grown between them are very much intact and does act as a saving grace. Ashe in particular had some of his most memorable moments in the series and his confrontation with his uncle and the sea mages is truly memorable.

Overall this still remains a very good book but severe pacing issues prevent it being the great one (or two) that it should have been. 7/10.  

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