Sorry, guys. I know this is one of the big successes of the self-publishing fantasy biz, but wow, was it not for me. The story lagged, the dialogue was beyond wooden, most of the characters whiny and emotionally immature. It took a good couple of books after this one to get the taste of bad fantasy out of my mouth.
Let's start with
the biggest problem. The dialogue. The descriptive passages are fine,
but there is such a tin ear for dialogue in this book. Practically every
page had something that dragged me out of the story and made me look at
the page cockeyed, wondering why the hell it had been phrased in such
an awkward way.
Particularly bad is his attempt to use modern
English in his medieval fantasy setting. I'm not saying this can't be
done. (I'm reading The Lies of Locke Lamora right now, and that is how you do it well,
ladies and gentlemen.) I'm saying it's done badly here. It's awkward,
and it doesn't fit the descriptive passages. It feels like someone trying
far too hard to be hip.
And worse is the one character who tries
to speak in self-consciously archaic English. He switches from "thee"s to
"ye"s from page to page, with no internal consistency, and no thought -
and often, it's the wrong word to use. Seriously, the descriptive
passages are generally fine. The dialogue, blech.
The story is
fine. The main characters, the robbers, are fine. (I do love a good
rogue - see above re: Locke Lamora.) The royalty, though, is all far too
whiny and prone to behave like they're about ten and never been in a
castle before, instead of having been, you know, raised to this. I don't
mind if characters are rebelling against their training, but there
needs to be some proof there was this training, you know?
rate. Someone has killed the king and laid the blame on two of the most
elite robbers in the kingdom. They are broken out of jail by the king's
daughter and sent to protect the king's son and get him to a secret
prison. And stuff happens along the way to uncovering the conspiracy and
setting the heir on the throne.
As far as a fantasy plot goes,
it's okay, but definitely not new or innovative. That might have been
acceptable, if it hadn't been for that dialogue. Oi.