The Twilight Reign #1
By Tom Lloyd
I can't recall if I've made mention of this before or not. And while a quick flip through my past posts would tell me I can't be bothered right now.
I read The Stormcaller by Tom Lloyd a couple of years ago when it was first published by Gollancz. I liked it well enough - more so than I'd originally expected to. I read book two, fine. No problems, from what I can recall it built well on book one and everything was fine and dandy. But then book three came along and he lost me. Literally.
I had no idea what was going on. And THAT never happens to me when reading a story. Even Erikson and Jordan have not caused me this problem... but I pushed through and got to the end.
Recently, a month or so ago, book four came out and I of course grabbed it because - despite everything - I am enjoying the story. Then I opened the book and began to read through the 'What's gone before'... and I was again, completely lost.
So I have gone back to the very beginning.
I don't want to talk so much about plot as anyone can get an idea of what the book is about from the blurb. What I'd like to talk about with this book is the execution.
Now let me say up front that I do like Lloyd's writing. He writes very well. His world building is great, he is inventive with a wonderful turn of phrase and has strong characters - even if he does on occasion change POV in the middle of a scene (I don't actually find that so much of a problem if it's clear - but so many writers have made it seem to be a 'no no' that I feel I have to frown at it when I notice it [but I don't really care]).
What I have discovered about his writing and this story - and this is what has made it so difficult for me to remember what happened (or what's even going on) is that he is very very light with the pen when it comes to the foreshadowing of events. Now I don't expect any writer to have to hit me over the head put up a neon sign in their story to make sure I pick up the hint, but it is only now that I have read books two and three that I am even seeing the possible hints of foreshadowing in book one. And that can't help but make it hard for any reader - especially one who can't be bothered going back to see what they missed. And I have to wonder if this is in fact the story as Lloyd wrote it or if he had to edit down for size/word count.
To my mind it could have used another one hundred odd pages dedicated to fleshing this out - and in fact if this wasn't an issue it would probably be the sort of book I'd scream about from the roof tops. As it is I find it a little frustrating because it's almost there... but not quite.
Is it worth you time to read? Absolutely, It's a strong book, it has a strong narrative and grreat ideas and regardless of any issues I might be having I haven't given up, I am still reading (and re-reading) this series. And who knows? Maybe you won't have the same issue I had, but if you do ever find yourself scratching your head at the inconsistencies or sudden (seeming) leaps of logic then I think you'll find the author mentioned something about the particular scene/event once and in such a way that it doesn't stick or ring any bells for the reader (well this one anyway).