5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Starts Off Well, But Falls Flat,
This review is from: Ombria in Shadow (Hardcover)
For a novel that started off so great with such promise, I was a bit disappointed to give "Ombria in Shadow" just three stars. Patricia McKillip is a very skilled writer and her writing talent is clearly evident in this book but somewhere towards the end I lost all interest in the book. It's not that the book was a chore to finish but as I kept getting towards the end I was wondering where the story was going. I didn't know if McKillip would throw in a plot twist or what, but I found the last third or so of the book to be inferior to the rest.
The novel takes place in Ombria, the greatest city in the world. When the book opens up the reader will learn how the prince of Ombria lies dying and his son, who happens to be a young boy, is the next, and last in the Greve family, in power for the throne. The regent ends up being the evil witch Domina Pearl, also known as The Black Pearl. The main characters of the novel are Ducon, the prince's cousin; Lydea, the prince's former servant and playmate; and Mag, the apprentice to a sorceress in the undercity, a dark area of Ombria full of magic. This novel chronicles all of the characters and how they react with one another, and eventually how everything comes together in the end.
Let me start off with the good that I found in this book. Patricia McKillip is a true master of the craft, with intricate prose, characterizations, and descriptions. It is a joy to read about the city of Ombria and everything that goes on in it, especially that which takes place in the undercity. Most of the characters are completely drawn out and well written, especially the three main characters. McKillip's style is easy to read and feels just like the story is being told to you verbally as everything is simple and just flows along gracefully.
Now, the problems. From the beginning of the novel I was hooked and kept reading thinking that the novel would get better and better as each page moved along. This didn't happen. Everything seemed to stay the same with not much development in the plot for most of the book. As the last one hundred or so pages dawned on me things started coming together, but when everything was resolved I asked myself, "Is that it? It's all done?" The ending seemed to be very rushed and and wasn't brought out to it's full potential. I also found that as the story progressed that the plot got very shallow. I thoought that the only depth in the book were the characters.
Despite the negative parts that I found in the book, I still enjoyed the book to a certain degree. This will not be my last book by McKillip. In fact, I look forward to reading a lot more of her works as I saw the potential of her writing here. "Ombria in Shadow" is not a must read for the general fantasy fan, but can still be enjoyed in that it is pretty original.