April 25th, 2008


Sort of a book review, I suppose

I finished Before They Are Hanged last night.  It's better than the first volume in the series, in that the plot actually advances.  The first book did have a plot, but the events all felt like a set-up for something bigger.  In this volume, we begin to see it.  The characters remain interesting.  The action sequences are quite good.  There's a twist at the end that's a nice subversion of a standard fantasy trope.

And yet...

It still feels terribly incomplete.  I know it's the second part of a trilogy, but it feels a lot more like the middle portion of a single novel.  The resolutions and hanging plot threads feel less like book ending resolutions and hanging threads and more like chapter ending versions of the same.  It's hard to explain.

Some of it may be that, despite the page count, these are pretty short novels.  Taking a page out of AEG's playbook back in the late nineties, both trade paperbacks feature a larger than normal typeface and generous margins.  I suspect a more conventional layout would bring both books in at well under 300 pages apiece.  I suspect it's that sensation of reading something that's been padded out may contribute to my dissatisfaction, however slight it may be.

Still, they're good reads, and I'll certainly pick up the final volume when it comes out next year.