Daniel Abraham’s A SHADOW IN SUMMER

20 03 2010

I don’t..think..I liked this one.

It’s a little hard to say that, because this book really has a lot of things going for it. The characters are evocatively written and real; the magic system–the binding and making corporeal of abstractions, word-became-flesh, if you will–is intriguing if just a tad trite; the politics…well, come to think of it, those were a little weak. Too much telling and not enough showing/explaining. But that’s not my main complaint.

The story was weak. Nothing at all happened that couldn’t have been written just as completely and a lot less agonizingly in a third the number of pages. There were no (ok, only one) surprises–which are the bread and butter of political machination novels, nothing to keep the reader guessing, and yet there were gobs and gobs of allusion and foreshadowing.

All in all, it felt like the entire novel was merely a prologue to the rest of the series, just a dip of one little toe into the waters before diving in.

The writing was solid enough that I will still pick up at least the second in this series of four. I’m not willing to abandon this world just yet, but if the next book moves as slowly as this one did I may very well toss in the towel and leave it uncompleted. We’ll see.




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