NOT a Spoiler-Free review... you've been warned.
Published: May 2014 (paperback edition, f.p.2013)
Fantasy Sub-Genre: I dare say... Dark Fantasy O_O
I am everything no longer forgotten. My seed has grown and become prophecy. Truth walks the world above.
Magic is risen to the world once more.
In Cornwall, they have seen it rise: in an angel of death and endless, unseasonal snow.
Across the ocean, on a remote Canadian island, the blood and offerings and smoke of England seem nothing more than distant rumours of hysteria.
Until the girl disappears. And the whale comes. And The Plague spreads.
And nothing is as it was before.
Thinking back, I remember this book seemed vaguely interesting - after all, the blurb was vague if not outright nonsensical. But I picked it up because it seemed to promise me something different. I could tell even before I started reading that it wasn't the typical fantasy book I'd go for. I hadn't realised it was the second book of a trilogy at the time, which gave it a big boost because I don't like reading Seconds to start - I remember doing that only one on purpose, with Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch, and that incredible second book made me a devoted fan of the Peter Grant series. But I'm getting off-topic.
Considering that I hadn't known I was jumping into a sequel, I must say I really, really enjoyed the first part of the book. The Three Dialogues at the start were interesting, although I didn't really 'get' them, as in, I didn't get their purpose. When it became clear who the characters were, I didn't understand what I - as the reader - was supposed to gain from getting that info as a dialogue instead of plain prose. Genius or ridiculous? Not yet sure.
In Part One, the language was witty and engaging, the characters likeable despite their little odd traits, and the plot just fascinating. I was so, completely engaged. Goose was a character I warmed to, especially being the newbie and blamed for a mistake she didn't make, which would naturally encourage rooting for her from the start. Jonas, I positively adored. I found that, even though we weren't given much to go with and even less answers, I could read and really enjoy it still.
Then I got to Part Two, and it'll be clear quite quickly why this review is going to be short.
Part Two was a disaster. When it became clear that Marina was the character in one of the first dialogues, I already knew I didn't like her. Putting aside that Whiny Child Talk slaps you in the face every time she speaks, she's too stubborn to be likeable, and without any backstory or understanding of her motives, I couldn't even empathize with her. The good thing is that at least I knew by that point it wasn't down to bad characterisation - just this particular character. It was so overwhelming frustrating to follow Marina that at times I wondered whether this was (a) intentional to that degree, (b) intentional - but not to that degree, or (c) a complete misunderstanding that I had about her character.
Let me open a little window to my thoughts, a few pages into Part Two - my questions from Part One are still unanswered; I'm stuck with a character I greatly dislike that is following a series of plot events I DO NOT understand; I'm bored and feeling like house chores are a good reason to put the book down; I'm wondering if I should skip pages (which I eventually did); and finally, I put the book down for the remaining few days (that led up to today, Review Day), and thought, maybe I will like it better if I read book one.
So that's where I'm at. I'm so disappointed, because I was so excited to have all the creepy little mysteries tied up. If I like the blurb of Advent, I think I would read it. But generally speaking, I'm actually quite happy to let this go. I normally hate leaving books unfinished, even if I don't like them. Although, I didn't finish 1984 because I hated, hated it - and I was so sad because it's a classic and so highly acclaimed and had such a great premise and I'd wanted to read it for ageeeeees. But the awful protagonist made my stomach turn.
Oh man, getting sidetracked again. Even writing the review is boring me.
This is the first time I have written a review not having finished the book - and this is because... well... I don't know if I'm going to. I'm so bored to DEATH and I'm only halfway through - page 263. I don't think I should rate it until I've finished.
I'll do my best. Expect a Final Verdict on Tuesday.
Image: pralinsky.com - Scott Pralinsky
No Fantasy FFT today. Just me, getting into bed, going into a thousand-year sleep.
Ashana Lian .