Thursday, May 24, 2012

"The Obsidian Blade" by Pete Hautman

I was originally planning on reviewing Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic for the New Adult Project this week. There's no doubt that the book counts as New Adult, since the protagonist is twenty-three years old and recently out of college.

However, when I started writing the review, I realized that a) I read it five years ago, and I'm not sure I remember it well enough to review it, and b) it's actually the third book in a series (though it does stand alone pretty well). So I'll make it your guys' call. To review or not to review?

Instead, I will review The Obsidian Blade. (Not New Adult, alas.)

If you're the sort of reader that likes plot devices that make you go "Hey, cool," then this might be the book for you. Should you expect anything else from it? Probably not.

The Obsidian Blade was poorly-developed in every possible way: poorly-developed world building, poorly-developed characters, poorly-developed ideas. It wasn't necessarily that the author failed to think through all of his ideas; it's just that if he did, the reader never gets to see it. I never got to know any of the characters in any meaningful way. Some existed for no purpose other than to dole out vague explanations about the world. Perhaps these characters all had deep, underlying feelings and motivations behind their actions, but the author's sole priority seems to be jumping from Point A to Point B. Since this is a time-travel book, we get to see all sorts of 'worlds' and 'events,' but even these are only shown in the most hasty way possible. This book is loaded with bad info-dumps, telling instead of showing, and an ending that's just one big mess. (Or maybe it did make sense, but by the time I reached the last few pages, I just didn't care enough to actually follow what was happening.)

So don't waste your time. If you're going to read a time-travel book, I would stick to something like Tempest. (Or Harry Potter, for that matter.)

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