Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Sigh...another book falls under the weight of being that Awkward Middle Book, the one that doesn't really need to exist but does so that the author can release a trilogy, because heaven forbid anyone go against what's acceptable and write two books, or even one, because obviously it's trilogies people want and we mustgivethepeoplewhattheywant...breathe!!!!
I can sum this book up very simply. There was walking, and there was talking and not a lot else, unless you count that any strongish female character from the first book had all their strength leached from them as soon a they smelt a potential mate on the horizon! Relationships that help so much promise just withered, dried leaving naught but a formless husk. It's just so relentlessly vexing when female characters go against their personalities, doing stupid things for the sake of their men folk. If the character is weak to start with then fine, at least she's being true to her nature, but when they were once strong willed, it's galling, the brainless things they'll endure. Remaining a slave in an enemy camp because they can't bear the thought of leaving their husbands behind so they won't escape without them, is one example. I can't even tell you the two things that made this even more infuriating as they could be construed as plot spoilers, but both are very good reasons not to hang about being a slave. We were led to believe in the first book that this particular woman was intelligent, strong, pragmatic and yet she seems to forget all that as soon as her man is in trouble. Every page we have to hear her bemoan her fate, how difficult it is to see him suffer, blah, blah, blah. How it hurts her so blah, blah, blah. Easy solution there love, LEAVE WITHOUT HIM. That may seem harsh, but there is a reason for it but like I said, I don't want to give away any spoilers. The woman from the first book would have done what she needed to do to survive. It would have been difficult, but she would have done it regardless. It was so disappointing to see this simpering (slightly harsh but I can't think of a better word) woman taking her place.
Another example. Two characters get thrown together in book 1. Over the course of about three chapters, they start to develop feelings for each other, it's all very rushed and lazily done. In book 2, they go their separate ways, each with their own destiny to fulfil. Well Mr. Man, despite worrying about the lady every page, wanting to know if she's safe, lamenting his broken promises to keep her safe, the wonderings that perhaps his feelings go deeper than friendship, jumps into bed with two other women. Now like I said, they didn't really know each other that well, but because he thinks about her so much, we are led to believe he most likely loves her. So him bedding two other ladies is a bit of a surprise, especially considering he is quite honourable and loyal. It goes completely against his character then that he spares not one thought for this girl he spends a lot of pages mooning over. She doesn't even cross his mind. There's no hint of remorse. Granted they never had any kind of agreement as to their relationship, but Mr.Man knew the girls feelings from an outside source, knew that she probably loved him. Did he care? NOPE!!!! Oh he protested at first, but a pretty face and a bit of transparent flattery and he's on his back. Don't get me wrong, it's not the act that offends. Boys will be boys and I know this isn't the case with all, but a large number think mostly with their penises. It's the fact he didn't feel even slightly guilty with regards to his lady friend. That to me was a severe lack of character continuity and not in keeping with his personality at all.
But that's not the worst part. While he's off dipping his wick, his lady is off doing her thing and not having a particularly nice time, all the while worrying that he's in trouble. Half way across the country, she gets a message, asking her to return. Bearing in mind she's had a pretty arduous journey, she does. She thinks he needs her, that he is in fact, in trouble. So at no small amount of pain and suffering to herself, she returns, only to find him reasonably comfortable. He needs her help certainly, but that's only to use her gifts for his own ends (can't say more...spoiler!!! It's not as dastardly as it sounds either. He has reasonably good intentions, the greater good and all that). Then she finds out about one of the women he slept with. He apologises, but in almost the same breath sticks up for the girl, saying she's been through a lot etc, saying this to a girl he knows almost certainly has feelings for him. In his infinite wisdom. He decides it's best not to mention his other dalliance, not out right lying, but that's still not exactly going to endear him to readers.
But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that she pretty much just takes it all. She grumbles a bit, moans, but ultimately helps him out, without even a bit of shouting or throwing things...ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!! Since when did this character become such a fucking doormat. 'No, no, you bump uglies with whomever you like, keep secrets, while I sit here day after day working tirelessly to help you not look bad when in fact I've got other stuff I need to do and that by keeping from it is actually causing me pain.' It just made me so mad that she just accepted it with so little fuss.
All in all, there were few characters who I liked, mainly because they were generally badly written and inconsistent. That's not to say the writing was bad. The descriptive stuff was fine, a bit too much for my tastes (started skipping paragraphs towards the end I thought weren't integral to the story) it was just the author's characters and their ever changing personalties to suit the story.
There was also a lot of repetition. A lot of conversations that seemed to happen more than once. I would read them thinking, 'didn't you guys already talk about this a few pages ago?' Like I mentioned earlier too, if a character had gone through some sort of trauma, we were reminded about it constantly. Now, in real life, yes, people will dwell on the past, especially the bad stuff, but you can't apply that to a book because is just gets boring. Sure, you can't have a character completely forget an event like it had never happened, that wouldn't be realistic, but a few reminders here and there is all you need. A few words, preferably different words so it makes it more readable. A quick, fleeting memory of the past triggered by something in the present. A moment of weakness where the past comes back to haunt. Not paragraphs of samey sounding recollection!!! It's a difficult balance to strike, but the great authors can do it in a way that feels effortless, natural. Everything the characters felt in this book seemed forced upon them.
Is this review even making sense?
So why three stars instead of two. Simple. Because for some bizarre reason I still needed to know what happened. There's a good story in here somewhere, a lot of it no overly original, but gripping enough to keep me reading. If the characters weren't so bad it would have got more.
Apologies for the hideous detail I go in to. It was just these things bugged me soooo much!!! Hopefully I was successful in avoiding spoilers. I honestly don't understand though how the quality has changed from the first book to this. I actually quite liked The Last Stormlord...
Annoyingly though, I will need to read the third book. I get the feeling it won't get better...
...sigh. Why do I do it to myself?
EDIT: I changed it to two stars. I'd given books I liked a lot more the same amount of stars. It didn't seem right
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