Jo Fletcher Books, p/b, 432pp, £9.99
Reviewed by Martin Willoughby
The curse of Jo Fletcher books strikes again. After coming close to ruining Stephanie Saulter’s book Gemsigns, they’ve done a good hatchet job on this one. The editing is dire.
The story itself is engaging enough, though being the final part of a trilogy you do need to have read the first two to get a handle on the characters and story. And, as the third in a series, it’s trying to wrap up so many storylines that unless you’ve read the other two you’re going to get lost in all the detail.
I counted four groups of characters (yes I did say groups), each with two or more characters, one with four, each with their own storyline, all of which intertwine near the end.
One of the characters comes from our world and is the chosen one to lead this alternate world by marrying a female of noble birth in the world in which he finds himself. The rest, as best I can work out, were born there.
You have the usual mix of trolls, wizards, princesses, dark adversaries and dragons that you’d expect from a fantasy novel, with very little that makes you sit up and say, ‘that’s different’. In fact, there’s nothing that would make you sit up and say that, assuming you’re not half asleep by the time you get halfway through the book. Either that or you are sitting in dazed confusion at the multiplicity of storylines that jig around with machine gun rapidity.
Given the large number of main characters, it is hard to keep track of them all and work out who is doing what, something not helped by some similar sounding names and the lack of highlighting about which one is a talking dragon and which isn’t. Or even which character is talking sometimes as their personalities are sometimes hard to differentiate. As you can tell by the lack of names in the review, it’s hard to remember who was who.
All of which is a shame, as buried beneath this is a good story with some well written set pieces, especially the scene where one character returns to the Earth we know and sees a possible future where dragons rule and use humans as a valuable source of protein. Had the character count been cut down and the focus been on half of the characters, which a good editor would have pointed out, the book would have been much better. Either that, or Elliott could have taken the Peter F Hamilton approach and written three 1000 page books
Had the editor been more effective, this could have been a very good book. As it stands, a good story has been ruined by bad editing.