Top critical review
One person found this helpful
There was a lot that I liked about this book
on May 5, 2015
There was a lot that I liked about this book. I loved the level of detail regarding the gypsies and the Sadorians. I also love the character Brydda (who may have been introduced in the previous book, but I've read the first four books all together, so they're kind of a blur). Brydda adds a lot of character to the books, and he seems like someone I would like to know in real life. I am still very happy at the number of strong female characters in the book and that they did well with, rather than in spite of, the male characters.
There are a few things that disappoint me, rub me the wrong way. First, for the amount of importance Rushton is given from the very start, we see next to nothing of him. Of all the characters, his character is the least developed. I am in the middle of the fourth book now, and even there Rushton has been absent for the entire book. On the one hand, one of the things that makes the female characters strong is that they exist outside of their relationships with males, but Rushton ONLY exists inside his relationship with Elspeth, and three (now four, in my reading) books into the series, his presence is only minimal.
Second, while I love the world that Carmody has created, I find the themes of environmentalism, vegetarianism, etc. to be a little overbearing and heavy-handed. I think they are worthwhile themes, but rather than being a subtle backdrop, they carry the entire plot, and we are guided to the PC perspective with the cold bit rather than the gentle hands in the mane or the non-condescending finger signals. It reminds me of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series that started off so great, was such a rush, but ended so bluntly, so thickly environmentalist that the well-told story was all but forgotten. Again worthwhile themes, but they overshadowed the rest of the story. Was that the goal?
Lastly, and maybe this has something to do with reading the novels on a Kindle instead of paperback, but all of the books, and 3 and 4 especially need a good edit, and even a quick run-through with a simple spell-check. Carmody introduces nicknames she has never used previously with no lead-ins or explanation. She uses one-off words that are very near to the word she should be using, but aren't. She misspells simple words and character names. And maybe it's because of the formatting, but there are numerous instances of hyphens being placed in words where they shouldn't be, words being run together, and paragraphs being broken up in random places. Additionally, there are multiple instances of missing end punctuation. Even when the story is engaging, and this one is, errors like these are distracting.