Raven Caller – The Keepers: Book Two, David Dalglish.
Orbit, PB £9.99
Reviewed by Steve Dean
This is book two in the Keepers series, but it’s more of a sequel than a direct follow-up. It might be better to read the first book, Soulkeeper, before this one but it isn’t necessary.
Ok, it seems ancient magic has returned, and mythical monsters aren’t so mythic anymore. Strange creatures roam the streets and no one’s safe in their own beds, even with the blankets over their heads. In this rising tide of scum and villainy stand warrior-priest Devin Eveson and his sister, Adria.
Meanwhile, outside the city, the magic giant rabbits have returned, and they want their land back, land now claimed by the humans who farm it. On top of all that, the city residents have started turning into crazed zombie-like cannibals, constantly on the hunt for their next meal. If this wasn’t enough, a powerful and quite nasty wizard-type called Janus is playing with people’s lives in an already over-burdened city on the edge of starvation and rioting, and the ravenkin are getting involved and have their own agenda.
Now, this review is obviously written by me and is my opinion, I even put my name at the top. So here we go.
The main problem I have with this is there are too many words. Each line seems to be drawn out as long as it will go for no other reason than word count. It takes far too long for anything to get said or done.
The second problem I have is with the dense plot. I like a good, deep plot, but this one is wide, there’s too much going on, too many characters fighting for a decent story and none of them really getting one. The author seems to have crammed everything into the book because he thought it should be there. Simplifying the plot, removing some of the characters and reducing the word count would have made this a much better read. This is classic fantasy fiction, and by that I mean there’s nothing new to see here.
Before you reach for your keyboards, let me just say David Dalglish is a popular best-selling author, and rightly so. Many people like dense, overly-complex plots, classic fantasy and a cast of thousands. What’s a turn off for me is a positive draw to others. If you enjoyed his previous books, there’s a good chance you’ll like this one, although I can’t guarantee this.
I apologise if this reads like a choose-your-own review. For me personally, this book didn’t work, for the reasons I give above. You might like it for those very same reasons.