Review: Law of the Broken Earth

Law of the Broken EarthLaw of the Broken Earth by Rachel Neumeier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Neumeier’s writing. Her details are always deep and descriptive, giving a visceral impression of the world. Her characters are unique and believable, each with their own set of issues that contribute to the main story. I also like that even though this book is the last in a trilogy it is not a problem that it has been some time since I read the other books. You could read this story entirely on its own, and while you may miss some of the subtle references that tie the series together, there’s nothing to stop you enjoying the book for its own sake.
So, why didn’t I give the book 5 stars? I mentioned that I love Neumeier’s descriptive writing, which is true, but such writing is not always appropriate. There were times that the florid prose slowed the story so much that the plot came to a screeching halt while we examined the setting or had a lengthy internal debate.
The second issue I had was the way the story fell into place for the main characters. Everything came about in a believable way, and the characters did make decisions, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were running on rails. Everything fell out just so, and it all lined up perfectly even if the characters had no idea why they were doing what they were doing. This was particularly conspicuous with Meinthe and Tan. Meinthe has no idea why (or how) she’s doing things, but keeps doing them anyway because it all works out. Tan is a person used to relying only on himself, but during this entire book he is treated as little more than an extension of Meinthe, and he seems perfectly fine with that. The characters never really figure anything out, it’s more like the world solves their problem using them as a conduit.

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