Posted By onefinemess on April 2, 2014
by: Trudi Canavan
I’m not sure where to start with this one. I’ve heard it referred to positively so many times that I think I came in with my hopes a little high – although, to be fair, every time I read the back cover copy I put the book back down again because it sounded so bland. I had to skip that this time and just dive right in…
Unfortunately, it was pretty bland. The world was fairly interesting but I kept hoping/expecting the author to do something subversive, especially with the gods. Hint: she didn’t.
I don’t know why I had this expectation – maybe I’ve read so much non-standard fantasy that it’s baked into me now? Offhand, I can’t think of a fantasy that feels more generic than this one.
With the almost-exception of the MC, of course. It’s a (positive, strong, etc.) female. I think this may be one of the reasons it came recommended so highly. The heroine was indeed strong and positive and free thinking and such (although, to me as a reader she still came off as ignorant and unable to think hard about her world although I get how this makes sense in the context of the world, it still kind of turns me off as a reader). And she wasn’t blonde (still white though, deffffffinitely white. This might even be one of those series where everyone “human” is white. Ugh.), so there’s that.
Anyway, the MC, while being non-negative, still came off as very bland to me. And the way she “powered up” a couple times was just kinda really random and… I dunno. There are hints that it’s not random, but ..meh. And the last time it happened (during the last battle) it was just… it should have been explained better or elaborated on or something. I mean, I get how the whole gods thing hampers everyone’s thinking (at least from my perspective)… but it makes for a really frustrating read. [Which is interesting, because I have a similar world in my most recent novel, so I'm curious how my take will come off to others. Maybe I didn't do so hot either...].
The main romance came off a bit squicky (and maybe a little marysueish) to me as well. I mean, the dude was basically her teacher for years as a child…then she gets with him when she’s 25? Maybe I’m old fashioned? Even aside from that, I didn’t really feel it either, I mean, other than the teacher-student and ex-teacher-grown-up-student vibe between them, I didn’t really feel anything.
There are some weird bits of foreshadowing and, while I am curious where they are going (is Auraya on her way to goddesshood? What’s up with Mirar and all the time the author spends on The Hag? Leaving the enemy sorcerers alive and free seems… I mean, is that what happens? Do you let the enemy generals go free when they are also the nukes?? Maybe??), I am not curious enough to move through the series at the pace prescribed by reading them.
Sooooo I’m kinda hoping someone just dumped the plot up on wiki. Let’s see about that…
TWO AND A HALF STARS
Rather bland fantasy that colors safely between most of the lines. Could have been much more interesting (to me). And might be, later in the series, but there wasn’t enough here to make me care enough to continue..
[EDIT: OK I just wiki'd the series and it looks like the author does finally flip things with the gods. Which is what I kept expecting (in pretty much the exact way I expected)...she just took too long to get to it for me. I think this book would have been much stronger if there had been a closing reveal, or something more than clues that can later be assembled to support the actuality, but don't force the issue.
I guess it's a 3 book series instead of 5...so maybe I will read it eventually. Less to plod through. But can I read something when I already know the ending? I've had a really hard time with that in the past. We'll see.]