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Curses of Scale Kindle Edition
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Each major character is full and complete, with dreams, desires, and fears of different kinds. The minor characters contribute much to the story and come across just as real.
Between the 4 major characters and the picture-perfect portrayals of scene and settings, I experienced some confusion in a few places in the story. Nonetheless, this is some magnificent reading for fans of fantasy and fairies.
Curses of Scale gets a score of 4.3 stars! The score would have been higher except for the handful of spelling errors I found.
My problems come in some of the other elements. The point of view switches between characters broken into different chapters. While this is fine, the number of chapters spent on one character in a row, sometimes made it a bit difficult to remember what was happening with the others when we got back to them. Then, there are two chapters at the end where the point of view suddenly changes mid-chapter, no break. That threw me off for a moment too.
Some of the phrasing in the book I found to be distracting with imagery that I actually had to puzzle out a bit at times. There were moments in the book that I had to go back to figure out what was happening, due to some of the phrasing. Reeves also uses thoughts, indicated by italics, interspersed with action. When I got the flow down, it actually works quite nicely, but until then, it threw me.
Overall, I like the book, but feel that I don’t like it as much as it deserves to be. It’s a good book, well-written, with a compelling story and characters you grow to like and care about. It didn’t resonate with me as much as some others, but I would recommend it.
Reeves weaves the story threads together towards a dramatic suspenseful conclusion. He draws on mythology and lore about fey and fairies, dragons and druids, in his own unique way. I loved the use of music - the chords - as a basis for magic and spells, and he portrays the overlap between the material world and the home of fairy well. Marny, Squirrel, Oberon and Calem are great characters - and there are twists and turns in this tale. All is not as it seems.
In some ways, I found Reeves' strength was also what made it harder for me to be immersed in his world and enjoy the ride. His prose is poetic, rich in immediate and sensual detail, literary, and novel, which resulted in some brilliant descriptions yet often slowed the pace or made it harder to understand exactly what was happening.
Overall, a clever and thought-provoking story, but a touch too literary for me to enjoy fully.
Calem has more than a few problems, but the worst is probably the fact that a mad fey lives in his head and Calem needs to perform a ritual to get rid of him so the fey can lift a curse on Calem's wife. Squirrel is fifteen and an apprentice bard. She wants to get to bardic college, but she is too young and her grandfather does not want her to go. Marny is a captain of troops, with memories of fighting a dragon and he is seeking his missing granddaughter. Oberon is the master of ceremonies and the puppeteer, pulling the strings to make them all dance.
This is a very odd book. It is like reading a dream sequence. The setting is hard to pin down, it has magic and feels like a fantasy setting but, jarringly, speaks of the French language and references ‘Rule Britannia’. The characters move through dreamscape after dreamscape and the line between reality, past and present become blurred. The skeleton of the story is revealed in odd glimpses - like walking through a fog that lifts now and then to show the landscape around.
The greatest strength of this book is in the pace at which it proceeds. It charges along without respite, whipping the reader along page to page. The main characters, though explored, all seem to have a very similar way of viewing the world - all seem lost in the same confusion and so don't ever really seem to stand out as individuals. But perhaps that is part of what the author intends, with this book it is very hard to say.
'His wounds are not healing. The raid on the Duke’s castle was botched. And the fairy is singing.'
This book had two major issues for me: Firstly, it was written in the present tense which repeatedly broke me out of reading flow with the awkward work-arounds and strange constructions the author was forced into. That, however, is something other readers may not mind at all.
Secondly, the writing style is kind of, but not quite, stream of consciousness. There are strings of partial sentences being made to stand alone or stuttering, short sentences which jerk the writing along in a way that makes it very choppy rather than flowing. I often had to go back and re-read paragraphs having got to the end and not really grasped what it was trying to say. The sense of disconnection between chapters and people, times and locations made the book at times very hard to follow. I was never able to just 'go with the flow' because there was no 'flow' to 'go with' which made it a rather uncomfortable reading experience for me.
Allowing for the fact that, although very much against my personal taste, the present tense issue is one many would not find one at all, I would give this book three stars.
I suspect this is a ‘Marmite’ book - one that is going to be loved or loathed by those who read it. If you enjoy fantasy and love present tense experimental writing, it should be top of your 'must buy' list.
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