Well, I’d like to say that this was everything I hoped for…. but it wasn’t. And man, what a bummer…
I was kind of expecting this story to be epic. First, it had to do with elves and stuff. Second, the blurb showed me that it would take a different route than the one we readers are used in seeing with this particular fantastical race. And then, there was the matter of the 700 or so pages – books this big are meant to be spectacular.
But unfortunately, by the time I had reached page 50 – which is my standard page limit to give a book the chance to get me interested in what it has to tell – it was clear to me this story would make me regret the moment I decided to spend time on it. And the only reason I managed to drag myself through all of it, and didn’t just dump it in the DNF pile, was my stubborn side, that kept reminding me in order to help me going: “If you’re going to bash it, you HAVE to read it all and have reasonS to do so”.
So… Here we are. And boy, am I ready to get on a rant or what?! Take a seat, everyone, it’s time for a little life lesson on writing!
Before I get into this, let me just say, the writer had a lot going on for her. She could have written a masterpiece. Specific scenes in the book indicated this. But that’s just it. SCENES! A book is sadly not mere, individual scenes – it’s a package deal. It has to be in its majority, at the very least, good, not just satisfying in a couple of parts – especially when we’re talking about a book as big as this one!
But I’m stalling, and I’m afraid I can’t delay the inevitable any longer. Now then…. Let’s see.
As all of you know, writers have millions of ideas in their heads. And when writing a story, it is important to pour those ideas in your plot. That’s all good and wonderful, but there is one little detail that you always must keep in mind – less is more. Now, that doesn’t mean you mustn’t put your all into writing your story, oh, no! It just means that you need to organize your mind, and decide which ideas you’ll be using in this book, and which in a book you might write later – because, come on, which writer would write just one book and then be done with it all, never again writing another thing for the rest of their lives? Right? Well, C. J. Bahr apparently doesn’t believe she will be writing anything else for the rest of her life – or maybe that’s the way she sees it. Because that’s the only reason I find SLIGHTLY logical for what she pulled with this book of hers.
You have so many ideas, and they’re all awesome, and we get it, you want them all to come out and play. But that’s not possible! Not in a single book! Unless you fear you won’t ever write again, that is! It’s simply suicidal – career-wise – to DUMP all of it into just one story. You have a strong imagination, and that’s brilliant, it really is, but you don’t have to do it all at once! Keep something for another book, another story. As soon as I realized what was going on, and how each theme kept overlapping with the others in a gross and unfitting way, the mystery of the 700 pages was solved – and I was not pleased, because I was really looking forward to a long story like the ones told by other writers with such a page-count.
It’s like having a really neat wardrobe, full of designer clothes, each piece a magnificent thing in itself – and then putting them all on at the same time. You want to know what that would look like? Like a circus outfit! Fabrics and textures and colors, in a plethora of fashion cacophony, all of them being worn from one single person, at that same single moment in time. Now, I don’t know much about fashion, but even I know this is a disaster. Take that image in mind, and then consider it with a story. See? It’s not appealing at all! We had modern technology with magic and elves – who, by the way, didn’t look like ones, and why would you take away the pleasure of the pointed ears from us nerdy people I shall never understand – along with sexy scenes and sort-of love triangles and horror-like creatures that fed on souls…. (oh, and all of the sexy scenes were between the main evil guy and his paramour – what on Earth?! I wasn’t okay with Kyran BREATHING, what made you think that a reader would be satisfied with the Big Baddie getting off on at least two scenes, while the main characters just acted like teenagers at the very best concerning emotional and physical matters?!)
Need I say more? I believe it’s clear how messed up this is.
But the problem didn’t stop with the plot – nope! Next, we have the characters. And we all know how important those are in judging a book. Because, if the reader can’t connect with ANY of the characters, at least the main ones, then there’s a high possibility the book won’t be appreciated as it should. Let’s take a look at the three main characters, shall we? We have Jill, who is annoying because she keeps rejecting the truth staring her in the face – though, again, no pointy ears, can’t blame her THAT much – and then gets angry with Thomas for being a non-believer himself. Annoying, nagging, and honestly completely unrealistic on her human limitations. Then, we have Alden, an elven prince in exile, but with no pointy ears – yes, that’s a sore point and I’ll keep saying it! – who’s a human fan, and is supposed to be like Leopold in that classic Hugh Jackman movie. With great manners, and prince-like and sweet – or at least the exact opposite, I really wouldn’t care, I’ve seen it all in the prince archetype. But the guy was just… dull. Colorless. And let’s not forget Thomas. The human reporter, who might have been funny if not for this “jerk” attitude he had going on. I understood where he came from, but he still was a jerk.
And now, let’s get to the final issue: THE CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS! Most of you – the ones who have been reading my reviews all these years, that is – know that I hate love triangles. They’re messy, and they don’t make any sense at all. Because, honestly, I can’t find ANY reason for a woman to be unable to decide which guy she wants by her side. So, when I first noticed Jill kind of being attracted to both Alden and Thomas, but leaning heavily on the Alden side, while Thomas had decided he might be attracted to the woman…. I nearly freaked out. “Please, not a love triangle. Anything but that! I’ve endured enough from this book already, I won’t be able to take this, too – I’ll throw my laptop out of the window, see if I won’t!” – that’s what I kept yelling at my screen.
I’m not sure if I should feel grateful for the triangle not fully materializing – I certainly felt stupid, though. Check this out: Alden starts having the hots for Jill, right? And vice versa. They were kissing, and being all lovey-dovey, with him calling her cute nicknames in his native tongue, and then sacrificing himself to make sure she survives. And the glares! Don’t forget the glares he kept sending towards Thomas and the rivalry they had going on between them for the woman’s attention. And suddenly, POOF! Oh, we can’t be together after all, we’re from different species…. Really…? REALLY?! Oh, then I suppose you’ll need some time to mourn the love you guys had, seeing as you can’t be with the woman you wanted – oh, wait, there’s Elspeth, let’s sleep with her despite her being our enemy a mere day before, no problem! We can be with her because she’s an elf, too, no matter that she betrayed us and nearly got us killed, and instantly, of course, the minute we dumped the woman we had nearly claimed as our own with our actions – yeah, sure, why not, that makes So. Much. Sense!
And so, out of the freaking blue, we had the elven couple, and the human couple. Because not only did Alden move on as soon as he closed Jill’s door behind him, Jill herself was finally free to give Thomas a chance – seeing as the elven prince would now knock boots with another woman, so that solves the dilemma, yup! It’s soooo good to have a spare man for when the romance doesn’t go the way you wish to, don’t you agree?
I am more than disappointed at how this whole thing turned out. I feel… cheated, in a way, and I keep wishing I could take back the couple of days it took for me to reach the end. But alas, I’m asking for too much. Instead, I’m gonna steer clear from Bahr in the foreseeable future, and hope that she manages to overcome those mistakes and let the potential she honestly has truly shine.
***I was given a review copy via Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***