Friday, October 21, 2016

Prosaic Fantasy

Well the summer's haul of books was back at the library, but there was a holiday coming up - needed to have something to read over Succos! So on Sunday, Erev Succos, I made the trip out to the East Brunswick library (Edison library closed on Sundays) and picked up a new batch of new reads. So exciting :) First one I chose was Sharon Shinn, who I happened to have overlooked when picking out books last time (might have overlooked her this time as well, but I fortuitously noticed the books when passing by).  I got out the one that looked to be oldest-since-the-last-one-I-read. I hadn't remembered before looking through the books, but she had started a new series with the last one I had read.  I had liked the first one, and so was happy to read the second. (I happened to have just checked her website and she started another new series around then as well, not sure if I'm interested in those as they look quite different from her usual. We'll see I guess).  Anyway, I didn't really remember the first book in the series, other than that I'm pretty sure I liked it.   But I know Sharon Shinn's style well, so I knew what to expect. Fantasy, obviously.  Finely crafted world, plenty of romance but also plot.  A certain 'earthy' morality, less prudish than the historical world that the fantasy ones echo.  This was a familiar read.

As far as this book in particular goes - well, first of all, the couple from the first book, Zoe and Darian, were quite present in this one, and their positions and personalities kind of made me wish I was reading that one instead :) They are cooler and more powerful than our current hero and heroine.  Well, actually, it turns out that Rafe has some serious royal lineage, and he's a pretty cool guy and Josetta holds her own. But still. Anyway more than that, the romance here was *not* my kind of romance.  As was made clear by the book jacket (though I had hopes it would not be the case) this was not a suspenseful, angsty kind of romance - it was an external obstacles keep them apart, and not even really so apart, one. BO-RING! I really should just give up reading these for romance at all :) And honestly, I'm not as picky about romance as I used to be, since I don't read that much anyway (and so often with romance it's a trade-off with decent writing). So to some extent, I guess I enjoyed the fantasy / story elements as well.  But 1) that got old too fast, 2) it really was just a little too silly, especially when it became clear that the "elements" that govern Welce society are particular to Welce, and not even neighboring countries, 3) I thought it was silly how much time was given to the "invention" of all these things we have in our world, as if a magical society would come up with exactly what we did and 4) just a little too much plot, sorry.   I was able to read the book, but honestly somewhat impatient for it to end.

And there was one more thing - the use of what seems to be an autistic child as a plot device.  Didn't love that. Too sad. Also too much of our world, in the same vein as the invention of airplanes and cars.

So bottom line, the world itself wasn't bad, but the romance was lacking and the plot couldn't quite make up for it.

Verdict: 2.75/5

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