Disclaimer: I didn’t actually finish the story. I stopped at about 80%, although I was skimming before then. The cover looks good and the summary is intriguing, but the book itself I didn’t particularly care for.
- There are Proper Nouns all over the place, but they’re only rarely explained until much later (if at all). Some books can get away with this. This one did not.
- The POV jumps from character to character and in some cases it can take a while to figure out who in the world is talking.
- Bannon (main character) is crazy powerful. Again, sometimes you can have a story start with a very powerful protagonist and go from there, but more often than not it doesn’t work out.
- Clare (apparently supposed to be a main character) never really feels like a main character. He’s badly overshadowed by Bannon and one of her Shields, to the point where I’m not sure why the series isn’t titled Bannon & Mikal.
- Holy purple prose Batman. The wording feels accurate for the period (so far as I know, which I don’t), but the fact that I noticed enough to comment on it isn’t great. Also Bannon mentions over and over again how unladylike she’s being. We get it.
- Some of the descriptions were very cool. Counter to the last point above, I really could see what was going on in some of the scenes. Not necessarily why it was happening and I’m sure I got some of the Proper Nouns wrong, but it was still solid.
- There is a lot of neat worldbuilding just beneath the surface. I wish it was more obvious, but it’s always interesting to read alternate history at this level. I want to know how things changed! I want to know how things work! Usually that wanting will drive me kicking and screaming through a story (in the best way possible). It almost did this time.
Similar to the point I made a little while back for Whitechapel Gods and Temeraire. I’m sure there are loads of people who love this kind of story. I’m not one of them.
So it goes.