Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'm not sure that Magic got lost


MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND
Raines Benares Book 1
By Lisa Shearin
Buy it

A girl with attitude. An all-powerful amulet.

This could only mean trouble.

My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound…

Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they’re after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her.

Now her moderate powers are increasing beyond anything she could imagine—but is the resumé enhancement worth her soul?
So.

I liked this book.

I didn't think I would, and that was because I did indeed fall into the trap of judging a book by its cover - which I seriously dislike, and the font makes me think it's a comedy a la Discworld, from which I run screaming (not Discworld so much but comedic fantasy in general).

In any case I was pleasantly surprised.

The worldbuilding is really good - anyone who can paint a picture so vividly and with so many layers in the readers head in such short a time earns my admiration (given I write pages in my own work to get the same effect ). The voice of the main character was strong and nonirritating (the book is in first person and while I don't love that I am getting more use to it) and the pace was fast. So fast in fact it became one of those books I couldn't stop reading.

Up until the last third of the novel.

I am not entirely sure what happened. it feels to me that Shearin may have revised the first two thirds of the book more than the last. I can't explain it any other way.

The characterisation changed. I no-longer recognised the character of Raine, she had become a stranger to me. And the 'romance' in the story, for me, lacked chemistry or romantic tension. It just missed the mark.

It was also in this section that I had issues with the dialogue. It felt to me that the characters started taking in circles; that Shearin was sounding out the plot through the dialogue - and yes, you do use dialog to do this... to a degree; but you never want your readers to notice it ('Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! I am the great and powerful Oz!'). 

Maybe I wasn't following the detail as closely as I ought but I also felt that there were some big leaps in plot logic between points A and B.

I was gutted. I really liked this book, the way it started, how the world was built up in the readers mind, the pace and the fluidity of the prose... 

What happened? I don't know.

I will read the book two. Lots of authors improve as they go on so and I liked what did work in this novel enough to see where it goes.




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