So...in keeping with the Fantasy genre BLOAT of recent years, there have been scads of books in which writers tell their paltry stories in a series of 3 to 7 books. Most of these books, especially if they are successful, fall apart into a convoluted mess. Harry Potter and Game of Thrones are prime examples of this bloat. Another disastrous example is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series which defined the problem of Fantasy genre bloat. So much so that the author died before he could finish his book. Book, and I do mean singular. Because let us face facts folks, these aren't a series of books. All of them....are ONE FRIGGIN BOOK! The only person honest enough to state this was the man who got the ball of wax rolling, Tolkien himself. LOTR was never a trilogy, he always stated it was one book. Thanks be that he only stuck to three books. By all accounts Mr. Tolkien was not a fast writer, I doubt we would have gotten 7 consecutive books out of him any quicker than we do out of lesser talents Rowling or Martins.
But let me stop my screeching now and come to the reason why I mentioned the many book nonsense at all. Kristen Britain's Green Rider series is yet another multi-book head banger. It is a planned 7 book series of which Mirror Sight is numbered book 5. The first book, Green Rider, was published in 2000. So the series fans have been waiting 15 years already for this series to end. I read the first novel not too long after it was published. In the interim of the long wait, I forgot the series discovered it again and reread it for memory's sake. As in all these series, the first three books are always the best, every subsequent book after those three shows significant quality lapses. Britain's series is no exception. But in its favor it is not under the public eye to the extent that HP or GOT experienced. There is no cultural juggernaut of films, TV shows, video games etc. that are hounding Ms. Britain to finish her series. This is why her series is not falling apart to the extent that Game of Thrones is at the moment. That isn't to say I don't wish Ms. Britain the same success achieved by Martins. By all means, I hope the Green Rider series gets the notice it deserves and more. But I hope it does as the series ends and there will be no interference with Britain's writing schedule. The series is slow enough coming out as it is, no need for more pressure.
That said, I was a little disappointed in book 4 named Blackveil. It seemed rushed with stories closed up hastily and new ones thrown against the wall to stick. I received the impression that the writer realized her series was nearing its end and she still had so much more story to add in only 3 more books. It also ended on a cheap note with a cliffhanger that had every reader screaming bloody murder.
This is a transitional book in the series. But Britain, unlike Martins, didn't have us slog through hundreds of pages about characters twiddling their thumbs moving from point A to point B. Instead she had an interesting side adventure for the heroine. I've read reviews where people raged that it was so peripheral that it didn't matter. This is most likely true but I still liked the latest adventure none the less. I do disagree that it was out of left field. Britain made it quite clear that her heroine had the ability to affect time and did time travel since the first book in the series. I think what confused most readers, including myself, was the large jump in time that it almost turned the series into something else entirely. The main story is set in a world that mimics the European Renaissance, sometime in the late 1300s to mid 1400s. This latest book jumped the timeline, due to the heroine's ability, to about 1870. Yes. You can see the problem. It was the same as if you went to the movies to watch Ivanhoe but in the middle it turned into Flash Gordon. If you are a fan of this series, I say don't sweat it. Let go and go with the mania. It turned into an interesting ride for me and revealed a few things to the heroine in a way that didn't waste my time as a reader.
The one problem I did have with the story was the dislike of one of the major side characters. She was sort of psychopathic and experienced no consequences to her actions at all. I mean at some point in the story it should have had the main heroine questioning the very notion of royalty. That maybe withered branches should be broken and discarded. But no, everyone keeps cheering for royals even if their chosen leader is a demented child with a serious lack of everything noble. When will we ever get to read a fantasy series, particularly an alchemical series, in which everyone rallies for democracy? Throw out those Kings and Queens! They aren't needed!
So this book is decent. It isn't going to set the world on fire. But it does the series good and gets it where needs to go. Lets hope Britain can finish the rest in a timely manner.
Labels: books, commentary, fantasy, reviews