Have you ever had the pleasure of finding a book you thought would be awesome – with not only the blurb but also the general reviews pointing to that opinion? Good, I’m so happy for you!
Because such was the case with this book.
Now, have you ever found such a book, started reading it, and just when you finally found some kind of interest in the story so far, had the writer take it all away from you? Like being hungry, then someone allowing you to have a sniff of a warm meal, only for them to snatch it back right before you can take big, juicy bite. (damn, now I know how Tantalus must have felt!)
What do you know, this, again, was the case with this book!!!
Yup, you heard me right. It really is possible for a book to frustrate me that much. That will teach me to challenge fate to bring me a story that can actually slap me with only its ending as a sign of force…
Liana Cantacuzino is a member of the Little Counsil – a group that is more or less Romanian royalty – so, being something like a vampire’s personal babysitter, is the kind of duty she can do without, thank you very much. Still, the order to guard Maximilien Hess came from the President himself, so she has to comply – even if Romania is the safest place on Earth exactlybecause there haven’t been any vampires on its soil for more than five centuries. But Max’s arrival brings more than just discomfort for Liana – secrets that were buried for so long finally come to the surface, and Liana’s friends and foes are not the ones she thought them to be.
With this kind of plot, one can only imagine the intrigue and the political twists the story will have. Oh, I imagined. And imagined… and imagined… and imagined…
Sadly, imagination was the only thing that was left in the end…
I will leave aside the fact there was a part where the writer repeated herself – frankly, I don’t think it’s the right thing to blame when it comes to The Impaler’s Revenge – and go straight to the problem. Which was the way the book was planned out. An amateur would not have done that kind of mistake, and if it was intentional, then I’m even more enraged, damn it. At first, I found it fascinating. How true to her hatred for vampires Liana was, how Max didn’t act arrogant but was still reasonable about his needs as a vampire – in a hilarious, Chandler-Bing-like kind of acceptance – , and how awesome it was to see anoher side of the vampiric literature – one that was playing an active part on the world’s politics. Only a few of the reasons why I was so excited as the pages went by, no matter how dull the story was – because, let’s face it, had it not been for the scathing dialogues and banters, it would have been a disaster. But we all know that a writer needs time to develop their story, so I sucked it up and kept reading.
Well, guess what? The writer must have lost the notes to the rest of the story, because what she left us with was NOT satisfactory! You don’t give so many pages of boring everyday, political problems that the heroine has to put up with, peppering it with some info about her sexual life, constant thoughts of hatred and murder towards her charge and half-told past events, only to stop the story right when it FINALLY picked up in action and interest! This was not a cliffhanger – I should know, I love writing with cliffhangers, too! – it was a hiatus! Like you either don’t know how to end the book or don’t care at all!
“Hmm, what should the ending be? Oh, I know! I will start real slow. Then I will abruptly pick up the pace, and end it just at that precise moment when everything begins to make sense and Liana actually does something useful! And oh, silly me, why not rush through it all and leave it like a neutral news report while I’m at it? It will be brilliant, and it will make readers want to see the rest of the story in the next books!”
Sorry to burst that bubble of positive thinking, but this is not how it works. And this is the “cliffhanfer-loving” side speaking, in case you were wondering. You want to end the story and leave the reader hanging and wishing for more? Then don’t rush the damn ending after having dragged us through meaningless blah-blahs! Give a little more! I can’t possibly consider this a cliffy when it was so abrupt, I thought there was something wrong with my reading device and I had lost the rest of the book. After thorough research, I discovered that no, Liana’s – totally misplaced and out-of-the-blue – comment on her dating a doctor WAS actually the last line of the first book. And that’s when it hit me. There was no more to the first part. Nothing. Nada. Zero!
If it was accidental, I say the writer needs to work on her planning. If it was not… Well, pardon me while I make something clear in my usual, bitchy way: I don’t find this method of selling the next books in a series moral – or appropriate to a true writer’s ethics and behavior. When you want people to keep reading your stories, you use your writing voice and your art to convince them. You don’t dangle what COULD BE a story, full of gaps and unanswered question marks, in front of their face and then stop narrating because it’s a convenient way to keep them going. I understand that marketing plans are important in this kind of work, too, but they’re nor everything. In the end, what speaks for you is the story itself. If you’ve done your job right, it will eventually be known and loved, even if it takes some time.
I don’t know the reason why Ms. Visan stopped The Impaler’s Revenge at that particular point. And I regret to inform you that I won’t be reading the rest of her books, because she’s got the basics. But in the end, what counts is the result, and in this case, there was nothing that could be named as such…
***I was given a review copy from a LibraryThing Member Giveaway 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.***