Top critical review
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A Solid Story
on February 26, 2003
This book, Hidden Truth, is the sequel to Dawn Cook's first book, First Truth. Unless you have read it first, don't even attempt to read this one. It would be hard to understand because everyone's history is explained in the first one, including backgrounds on rakus, Ese' Nawoer, Bailic, Alissa, Strell, Useless, the plains and foothills, and everyone's strengths and weaknesses. If you have read the first one, do pick up this book! It was horrible for me to wait the few weeks in took between when I finished the first book and when I got my hands on the second book because the first ended on such a cliffhangar.
I think that the main problem with this book is, first of all, both start out so boring that you just want to stop reading right there, but you keep going to find out what happens to the characters, which is this book's great strength. Every character is fully developed and has a completely rounded personality. Even Bailic, the main bad-guy, can be pleasant at times. Each person has their qualities and annoyances. It's wonderful to get to know the characters so well that you feel like you know them. If it's great action you're looking for, skip this book. Romance? Skip (though there is a bit in the second book, which is sweet only because you see how Alissa and Strell have gone from really not liking each other to this over the course of two whole books, plus there's the irony in the situation...). Same with if you're looking for a story with lots of magic. This book has magic, of course, but it's done and explained in such a matter-of-fact way that it seems like it really could happen. This makes it appear realistic, but almost in a borish way. I do appreciate the creativity behind the idea of tracings, sources, and wards, though. The idea of mild curses (like our words such as 'holy cow' or 'darn') that they use in the book, such as 'Hounds', 'Wolves', and 'Ash', are really amusing and seem very realistic. I also really liked the fact that Warden Lodesh Stryka came into play, considering that there are so very few characters in the Truth books.
Overall, I did like this book. Once you get started, you get so caught up in the characters that you share their joys and pains, and you don't want to stop reading, but (of course) she leaves you hanging on the last page. If you have nothing better to read? Go for this book. I definately liked it, but I didn't love it, and it certainly could have been better. It seemed that the author's main objective at times (actually, throughout) was to take the littlest bit of real information to write about and expand it as long as she could before completely boring her audience. If you asked what happened in this book, I could probably sum it up quite nicely in two sentences. That's not a good thing, you can imagine, and yet it still works. Like I said, if you want a character-oriented novel that's very indepth, this is a story with some elements of friendship and magic that you'll probably enjoy. It has no sex, violence, or profanity in it, but it's not for children only in that it would probably lose their attention very quickly. If it's magic you're looking for, I suggest Tamora Pierce's The Circle Opens series, or Harry Potter (but who hasn't read it?). All in all, this was a decent read and I admit that I enjoyed myself, but when I think about it, there are enough problems in it that I have a hard time giving it an excellent recommendation, but it's a pleasant read; I'll say that much.