Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2020-03-22 02:09:34 UTC
For me, this series has been a bit of a hard sell. It's never been
so compelling that I look forward to the next book with baited
breath, but it's had enough potential that I do keep reading them.
This installment feels as though the author realizes that the thing
isn't quite jelling and decides to shake things up: Most of the
cast introduced in the first two books are completely off-stage for
the bulk of this book, and new characters and indeed a whole new
world are introduced. This has good effects and bad. We see very
little of Jace's boss Cassius for instance, which is pretty good
since the author's attempts at pitching him as a romantic interest
for Jace have always fallen flat with me, especially given his
complicity in the near genocide of humans. The bad is that we see
very little of Jace's golem partner Charlie either, and he has
always been the series's most vivid personality.
This book's big find is the "Astonisher" Azura, a magician (of both
the "pick a card" and arcane varieties) / stripper / secret agent
from the world of Night's Shining Jewel -- I think I would totally
rather read about her adventures than Jace's.. Luckily we get to
see a good bit of her (in all senses..), unluckily while she is not
exactly written out at the book's end, it's not at all clear that
she will be back.
There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the book which makes it
feel a bit disorganized, and periphial characters come and go as
the plot requires them without any overall rhyme or reason (which
makes it all the odder that one of the most obvious balls cast into
the air, The Quicksilver Kid, never falls to the ground again).
Jace also continues to narrate in the present tense ("I run to the
top of the stairs. I look around)", which really grates on me.
The only other series I can think of which did this (the Jeri
Smith-Ready vampire radio station series) recently dropped that
afectation and moved to standard past tense ("I ran to the top of
the stairs. I looked around") narration.
I also have a very specific problem in that twice in the book we
are not told critical details in advance. In the first case, I can
forgive it in that while we should have been told there was "a
plan", not knowing the details was OK. In the second case it was
blatent and unforgivable. The author wrote herself into a corner
and had Jace pull a rabbit from her hat without even having told
us that rabbits existed.
So anyway I can't go higher than 3 stars. It might even be 2.5 if
it weren't for Azura.