Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: A Reaper of Stone

Why did I pick it up: I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley in trade for an honest review ... which this is, almost brutally so, I'll be nice, I promise.
Genre: Fantasy

Favorite Character: Elinor

Suggested Age Range: I think this is written for adults, but YA fantasy lovers might enjoy it too

Thoughts: In college my favorite writing professor consistently examined the complexities of writing a short story or novella compared to writing a longer work. The problem is that you have to be succinct and brilliant. You have to have a VERY CLEAR idea of who your characters are, what your setting is, and what shape your plot will take in every moment of your story. Otherwise, the story leaves the audience feeling flat, like something was lacking. 

Some of my negative thoughts on this story are really silly: what kind of name is Conbert (I laughed when I read it the first time) and that whole part at the beginning with the Rendworms reminded me of Termors (a truly terrible science fiction movie) and I think that is what started me thinking that this book wasn't really for me. 

However, I had two bigger issues with this book.

1. The world isn't well development enough: I don't know enough about the world to really connect with what is going on. There are titles without "job descriptions" and the vernacular of the characters made me think it is post-modern while the setting made me think medieval times. I felt really lost and it was hard for me to get into the story when I felt like I didn't know where it was even taking place. Part of this is because I'm not really an accept it and move on kind of reader. Part of it was because this is a novella and there isn't space to build a big world. But I just couldn't connect. 

2. The second struggle for me was the lack of polish overall to the text. I felt like I was being beat over the head with the fact that Elinor was in an orphanage (three mentions in 2 pages, wow). I also felt like the phrasing was cliched quite a bit and then crazy words were thrown in like "vulpine" to mix things up. It really pulled me out of the story while I was reading it. 

The good parts: I liked how both Elinor and Con were really haphazard. They were human and awkward from the beginning. Obviously Elinor is awesome and totally kickass, but she is still real. 

Anyone who spends time on my blog knows I'm a sucker for a great cover, and this one is epic (fitting for epic fantasy I guess). I would totally pick up this book just based on the cover.

Honestly, I like this world, I really think that I would love this book if it were a full-length novel. I just feel like too much was squeezed into just a few pages. This book deserves to be full length! 

The Bitter Truth: I had really looked forward to this book because this was the description: A Reaper of Stone is the thrilling first novella of the fantasy series of the same name. It is a rich, twisting tale with all the elements of a classic, epic fantasy story, in a tight, fast-paced, 90-minutes. Reviewers compare it to Game of Thrones and the works of Joe Abercrombie. It is recommended for readers who enjoy epic fantasy, myth and legend, and/or stories with a strong female protagonist.

I mean, it was compared to Game of Thrones and mentioned some of my favorite genres. I really expected to love this, so I went in way over-confident that this was going to be the book for me. The good thing about readers is not everyone is going to like every book, that's why there are so many great books out there. I always feel bad when I really (really) don't like something because I know that others love it. I'm the first one to jump up and defend a favorite book or author so I hate being the person to say that I didn't like a story. But I didn't like this one. I didn't connect. It's okay, there are more stories to read and I'm off to find them. 

How much did I like it? ** -- but really 2 1/2 stars, I mean, I did finish it after all

Book Bingo: Not counting ... it is just a novella :)

No comments:

Post a Comment