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Nice But Not Exceptional Fantasy
on August 14, 2011
I enjoyed this book enough to maybe by the sequels. I gather book 2 is expected soon, the back cover says summer 2011.
This book has a large cast of characters that mostly start off separate. Because the author believes in the "show dont tell" style, and takes it a bit too far and/or is less than masterful with this technique, you dont get the feeling you know the characters or what they are about for 200 pages or so. Indeed, at least one point I had to jump back a ton of chapters to see if the same people were being described. This improves greatly at around 200 pages -- the author squeezes in some "telling" into the plot, and we get back story of the characters, and some minimal understanding of the magic system and world. For me, it definitely took a little too long, but this is not a huge issue.
The main characters turn out to have a variety of linkages, and rather conveniently link up eventually. An oracle and her sidekick are dropped into the party for what seems like no real good reason. Granted, she doesnt say "I have a feeling we should go left" very often, but its a terribly cheap plot device. Again, not a huge deal. The magic system is not really described much, but has potential -- not overly generic.
The plot is pretty conventional, but since you dont learn what it is for 100s of pages, I better not get into it or someone will think its a spoiler (and maybe be right). The main characters have personal issues that are somehow linked to the prophesy and main plot.
I kind of liked most of the characters, even if I didnt always find their dialogue all that convincing. One other reviewer said that it sometimes felt like the dialogue was from "jokey 14 year olds" rather than supposed adults, and I agree. Felt totally out of place given the serious circumstances in which the dialogue was arising. However, in general, I kind of liked the writing, despite my critiques.
Overall, fairly enjoyable and worthwhile to try at free, if less than great.