By: Paul Hoffman
Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way right off. I was sent a review copy of this book by a publicist. My standing policy on this is that if I don’t like the book, I don’t review it. Since I didn’t pay for the book, I can’t complain too much if I didn’t like it, so I don’t complain at all. If I had paid for the book, then I have every right to complain about my wasted money. Since you’re reading this disclaimer, you’ve probably already discerned that I liked the book. So, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
This is the second book in an expected trilogy. I really dislike reading books out of order. I always feel like I’m missing something of the plot, world, and/or characters. This wasn’t much of an exception to that rule. I will say, however, that Hoffman did a splendid job of getting me up to speed on the highlights of the backstory. That helped, and it was done in such a way that it didn’t feel like it was just a recap for the reader. I still found myself feeling that I’d missed out on some of the character building, and plenty of the world building. Hoffman has built this world that feels very much like a parallel world to ours, with many of our locations and religions built right in. I found myself wondering more and more, as the story went on, where some of this came from, and how it all tied in. Perhaps that was stuff that would have been answered in the first book. I can’t know until I read it.
The book read quickly, despite the fact that it’s full of information at every turn. Much of the dialogue reminded me of the dialogue from a Kevin Smith movie, or a Tarantino movie; deep and thoughtful without being too complex. The characters are well rounded, and I found myself being drawn to them while, at the same time, being repulsed by some of what they did. That sounds funny, but given the circumstances they found themselves in, it’s not so bad. In fact, if you ask me, it’s the sign of some really well written characters. The plot was well twisted, and very little of it was given away. In fact, I think that Hoffman may have gone a bit too far in a few places in keeping the plot hidden. The actions made sense, but they weren’t ever really given any clear justification.
All around, a really well written fantasy with some really fun/interesting elements that make it highly readable. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the third book when it comes out, as well as add the first to my list.