I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been a few days since I finished reading this last book, but I believe I remembered everything I wanted to say.
First off, there are some interesting ideas and strong visuals. When I picture Georgeonus in metal armor and hover-skates, with a metallic voice (even though he technically doesn’t speak), it’s an image I like. The idea of having a main character who is missing a heart is a good plot point. It makes one wonder what’s up with that. Another unusual thing for this book that I don’t often see is the voices. Some characters are literally voices and nothing else.
It has a strong, unique magical atmosphere to it that I think could be really great, and I liked those bits about it, but I think there are some problems that got in the author’s way.
First, dialogue. I have a strong feeling the author feels uncomfortable or unsure about writing dialogue, or maybe doesn’t enjoy it. There are lengthy parts where no one says anything. Conversations tends to be short or even overlooked.
Here’s an example: The main character, Nadia, is going to fly away from a castle she’s being held hostage in. She’s instructed to take someone with her, so she goes to the kidnapped children and picks one to take with her.
He was a boy of about five-well, all right then, six. She had been corrected by him as fast as a whip.
We don’t get to hear his first line of dialogue. As a matter of fact, we don’t get any dialogue between them as she picks him out of the kids and leaves.
We get a description of him, and they leave, and then this.
The boy insisted he was not cold. Indeed, his brows furrowed defensively at the accusation. Nor was he afraid, he said, since he was the son of Jasper.
We don’t hear Nadia ask him if he’s cold. We don’t hear the boy deny it. We just get told that this happened, and because of this I had trouble connecting to the characters. It was like being told about their personalities instead of witnessing it in action.
They spend an extensive amount of time traveling, which was another issue. As soon as Nadia meets Georgeonus and goes with him, it feels like constant travel for almost the entire book, which leads to lengthy descriptions of everywhere they’re going. From when they start they hardly talk. It’s just travel travel travel, and Nadia doesn’t know what’s going on and then they travel more and she doesn’t know what’s going on. She and Georgeonus don’t say much to each other and they do very little together, so it’s hard to feel any connection. Same with Richard, the boy she takes later. The book takes much more time talking about the places they’re going than developing the characters. There’s little explanation for what’s going on, either, so it was easy to get lost.
The last thing that created a problem for me was the lack of transitions. This can be a little hard to explain, but I’ll try.
So, at one point they’re taken hostage in a castle. Nadia finds Georgeonus, who is hurt. He tells her to take his armor and leaves. She’s been next to his body as he’s lying down and taking off his armor, so she must be sitting or on her knees. Then, she’s putting the skates on, and she can’t be standing up when she’s doing that, either.
She obeyed. She carefully brushed the dirt from her feet, and then felt them surrounded by warm plush. They were too big, but the buckles kept them fastened around her ankles. When Nadia looked down she lost her balance and fell.
See the problem? Sentence one, two and three, she should be sitting down and putting on skates. Sentence four she’s suddenly falling over, with nothing between those two things to say that she had changed positions. There was no transition between her sitting and her standing up, so I spend the whole paragraph imagining her on her butt and suddenly she’s falling over.
There’s another point that Nadia and Georgeonus are flying over sleds going up a mountain path. She falls and lands on a sled. Because of the force of the fall the sled sways and Nadia is worried about going over the cliff. I’m picturing them going up a steep cliff, a girl falling into their sled, the sled being pushed towards the cliff and swaying because of the force of her fall, and then… She sits on the supplies and it starts talking about where the dogs are going. I suppose it says “They rolled away from the cliff”, but I never felt like it said anything about the sled correcting itself after a being shoved to one side, so I had still been picturing an uneven weight distribution. This sort of thing happened a lot to me in the story.
Also, a girl just fell from the sky into their sled. You’d think this would warrant someone saying something, but it doesn’t. No one says anything about this, including Nadia.
So, there’s interesting stuff going on here. It’s just hard to keep track of in the constant traveling with no explanations, characters not saying anything, and sometimes feeling like a detail was left out between sentences. Particularly the seemingly missing dialogue in spots made it feel as if the book hadn’t been completed – as if the author was planning to go back later and put that in.
And I would like to see that. I feel like the author has something unique here. Maybe find a beta reader, or someone who can help point out which parts drag on or get confusing. It had a promising start, and then it focused too much on one thing without fleshing out other aspects. There’s good tidbits that want to come through – for example, Nadia is asked where her parents are. She doesn’t know, but she realizes she hasn’t even thought about it, which is weird. Most people would wonder what happened to their parents and she actually wonders why she hasn’t. The book needs more things like that, where I actually get some insight to how a character thinks, feels or acts, instead of a series of things happening. I hope to see more it re-worked a bit in the future.
I give it a 6/10.