With this book, I am doing something that I have never before done (at least not for a work of fiction): I’m reviewing it without finishing it.
With that caveat in mind, let me begin by saying that I actually had no particular problems with this book. I did not leave it unfinished because I hated it, or because it had detestable writing, or because it was poorly formulated or characterized–it was none of those things. Rather, I did not finish reading it because it did not excite me.
Part of the problem is that I’m not reading this contemporaneously with its writing. That is to say, I know for a fact that there are seven books in this series. I also know that at least two books in the series follow the same set of characters, and more than likely, the others do as well. Sure, some characters die and others are introduced, but for the most part, we’re going to stick with the same folks throughout, I imagine. The upside of this is continuity and familiarity; the downside is that a lot of the questions that are posed in early books will not be answered until the last book of the series.
I like the book, but I do not like it so much that I am willing to suffer through unanswered questions for five more tomes. Mr. Anderson does an excellent job of keeping up with a large number of characters, with the side effect that these books are relatively long; they are pleasant enough, but they are not so pleasant that the idea of reading five more was enticing to me. As I was reading through this one, he introduced so many new questions, on top of the questions left unanswered from the first book, that I felt overwhelmed with a desire to know more–while simultaneously being unwilling to trudge through the emotional and relational problems of these characters just to solve the mystery.
Other factors that led to my putting this book down for good include an expansion of my complaints from the first book. The sexual content hinted at in the first book is expounded upon in this one. While still far short of actual pornography, the sexual content is more explicit and more pronounced than it was previously. Once again, you may think that it adds realism to the characters, but I’d simply prefer to limit the characters’ sexual conduct to implication.
It’s not a bad book. I imagine the series continues to thrive and is enjoyable to the end. I just don’t have the stamina for it, not when there are so many other things on my reading list that are so much more entertaining.