by Peter V. Brett
I didn’t like this one at all. Of course, the first hint to it being not good was on the back of it – any book claiming to be like „The Lord of the Rings“ is obviously so bad that it has to decorate itself with the most famous work of fantasy to receive attention.
I found the writing far too distanced, almost scholarly, though that may be because of the German translation. What definitely wasn’t concerned by the translation was the rest of it: the plot and the way how Brett chose to narrate his novel.
I really liked the initial idea of the plot – demons coming from hell every night to plague mankind. But from then onwards, this was a huge disappointment. The exposition was far too stretched and once something happened to Arlen, the author suddenly introduced two other characters with POVs, so that Arlen disappeared for around a hundred pages. I have nothing against multiple narrating characters, but when they change only every 100 pages, I feel like I’m reading three novels, not one.
Finally, the way how this novel was told. Apparently, Brett isn’t able to write good character development, because he didn’t even give it a try. Instead, he just makes huge jumps in time and when we return to the characters, they have already been changed dramatically. We don’t get to see the process, and that’s, in my opinion, very cheap. Also, Arlen seems to stumble upon the salvation of mankind in an oasis very suddenly right in the first chapter after one of these time jumps – really bad writing.
Generally, the whole writing style felt really awkward and amateurish, as if someone had decided to write a fantasy book and collected expressions and topics they wanted to include. Example: people explaining their world to the reader explicitly in dialogue. You don’t do that! You show the rules and ways of the world you introduce by letting the people act within it – you don’t make your characters say: „So, this is how we earn money, and how we trade goods, and by the way, that guy over there’s exploiting everyone else.“
Also the way women were presented in this novel was a catastrophe. Basically all of them were reduced on their level of attractiveness, and all men were interested in being rapists. There’s one special scene where a woman who was raped by multiple guys only days ago wants to have sex with another guy for the first time – what the hell. She was just raped. Like, ten pages before.
So all in all, I really didn’t like this one. It has a fresh, new initial idea which I think has a lot of potential, but all of it was wasted…one star.
by Peter V. Brett