My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
First off, I have to rant a little about the protagonist’s name. She’s introduced as Taya. Then, a couple pages in, she’s Tay. At first, I thought it was a typo because there was no explanation, but then it showed up a second time. Okay, so it’s a nickname and the author just failed to note it, I can go with that. Then it’s Taya again in the next paragraph. Then Tay, Taya, Tay, Taya, with no rhyme or reason to the switches. It drove me crazy! I very nearly set the book aside just from irritation, but I’m glad I didn’t.
The storyline was interesting, and I liked the world. There were plenty of details to help set the scene and the normal life of the protagonist. Taya’s plight is clear from the beginning. She wants to save her father (as much as she can) and keep her family from starving. To that end, she’s willing to do just about anything. As the book goes on, the stakes get higher, building to the point of world change.
While the plot pulled me along and kept me turning pages, the writing tended to break the pacing and drag things to a near stand-still while things were over-described or explained to the point of redundancy. There were many extraneous words, and the whole book could have profited from another trip to the editor as there were a number of punctuation errors, dropped words, and sloppy sentences like, “She began to process just what had just occurred” or “…friends of her father and deeper in the resistance than she cared know to about.” There were also some word choices that seemed a bit out of place for a YA book, like salubrious, prosaically, and gabardine. The formatting would have read more smoothly if there were more paragraph breaks, and the dialogue tags were sometimes mismatched so I had to read a passage two or three times to know who was talking when. Despite these distractions, the story still read easily enough.
Most of the characters seemed well-developed. Darius, Talon, and Beth were particularly interesting, with many facets. I had trouble connecting with Tay/Taya however. She often felt more like a window than a character, and when she did express herself it was usually to whine, and I don’t generally like whiny characters. She judges others, particularly Darius, very harshly, and she asks for an awful lot without wanting to give anything of herself. She also spends a lot of time pondering what just happened or worrying about what might happen next, which slows the story down needlessly.
The ending was fun, but not entirely satisfying. Perhaps that is to be expected of a series, but it left a lot more loose ends than it tied up. Still, I enjoyed it enough that I would like to read the sequel.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
About the Author
When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.
And some fun facts about me:
My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.
I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.
Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show.
I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.
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