[identity profile] monissaw.livejournal.com
The Bleeding Land, by Giles Kristian

One of the requirements (not by me) for this category was a book that wasn't pro-Royalist. This left us with a choice of... one book.

Now, I realise a reason for reading historical fiction is to get immersed in another time and place, and therefore it is to be expected that there will be lots of setting the scene stuff, but you know, it is possible to have too much. The opening chapters seem to be just setting the scene and starting on the road to establishing the characters' motives.

It doesn't help that the POV is... awkward in places. It's a loose POV, switching every few paragraphs between two or three main characters, and at other times, mostly in the descriptive stuff, there's an more omniscient narrator, which is fine. Not my preferred approach but it works, except there are insertions that force what should be narrator's comments into the POV of one of the main characters, so "Tom had heard" or "Tom knew that" or such. It feels like the author is trying to make the POV tighter but instead it is jarring and draws attention to the info dumps.

Still, I read through to chapter 4, then on the bus trip home, I picked it up to resume reading and accidentally read some later pages, which weren't very appealing. I flicked few more pages and, basically, decided gorish/ghoulish/whatever to read anymore.

It is book one of a trilogy (but I'm not sure the last book has been written yet) and a large part of it seems to be manuevering the characters into their positions for the rest of the story. I'm not really that interested. It apparently picks up and is better, if a bit violent, in the second half, but I have given up.

If you like immersive historical fiction that gives you plenty of room to dwell on happenings and has, I assume, lots of highly detailed battle scenes, you might like this.
[identity profile] littlerdog.livejournal.com
Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres was a book I got for my birthday last year, brand new and shiny off the shelves in Waterstones. It's now on its way to the library at husband's work. I don't want it any more.

So what went wrong?

Sometimes I've seen complaints that a book's POV was uneven and never really understood what it meant, but I think I get it now. The POV (first person) in this book is uneven. The narrator isn't consistent. Not unreliable as such but all over the place, self-contradictory, not acting on professed beliefs, changeable. She jerks from one fixed position to a completely different one in the space of a few lines.

That aside, she's not very engaging, somehow. She starts out being presented as independent, resourceful, kickass but then there's the inevitable rape backstory, the man dominating her, and her actual inability to look after herself. Presented with fish that looks a dubious colour, she's still going to eat it, until a man (of course!) advises her against it. Not so independent after all. Perhaps some of the character's unevenness derives from the author wanting to write an independent woman but being constantly undermined by her own subconscious stereotypes.

I gave up on the book at the point where the protagonist failed to make a blindingly obvious connection. It's no good telling me she's smart if she acts stupid.

An uneven book that was trying hard, even if it was a bit sub-Gibson fanficcy at times. But I can't believe in a smart survivor who can't even start to put two and two together, never mind make four.

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