Very happy to listen to an interesting story that strays from the tried and true. Not quite as dark as much of the new adult fantasy reads, this book..Show More » still has a sense of realism of character and emotion drawing upon some of the uglier parts of the human condition (Sorry to say "human condition" in a review, but it fits).
The story is told by an abstract, somewhat snarky omniscient narrator (a bit like a college professor)--which I kind of enjoyed (although the narrator's influence/presence waxes and wanes throughout the book).
The story follows the life and trials of a young boy who you are introduced to as an acolyte in a fanatical religious compound.
The story is creative and engaging and kept me captivated from start to finish.
Paul Hoffman seems to have come up with an interesting plot, but unfortunately never got past the drafting stage for this novel. The clipped dialogue ..Show More »and focus on distinct details convey well the grim mood during the first chapters of this book. Unfortunately, the writing style doesn't change much as the story progresses, leaving both the dialogue and the storyflow poorly paced and lacking in flavor. Perhaps for this reason, many of the characters were left feeling shallow and unimaginative.
The further the story progressed, the less polished it became. Characters were introduced, just to be completely forgotten a few chapters later. The author also became ever more obliged to explain (rather bluntly) characters' actions and reactions (no matter how obvious or uninteresting they are), as if he had a need to convince you with the logic of it, instead of trusting into his own storytelling. The events, first logical and tightly bound, soon became disjointed and artificial, feeling to be arbitrarily forced by the author rather than stemming from the world he created. Most of the events didn't seem to have much of effect on the overall story progression, as the characters were plunged into the next plot twist, without having any choice about it.
This book suffers from poor storytelling. However, my main complaint is about something else. It has a good deal of real-world references. Real town names, currency, nationalities, religious references and terminology are all used as-is. At first, this felt interesting and sometimes amusing. Soon, it started getting repetitive, making it difficult to immerse into the book. By the end of the book, these references seemed more like cheap and unimaginative placeholders, which no one bothered to replace afterwards.
That being said, I did buy the next book in the series. The plot really isn't so bad, it's just the writing which makes me cringe.
Enjoyed Hoffman's second installment. Great pacing, nice character development and a plot that truly evolves in a second novel rather than just being ..Show More »a transitional book setting up a conclusive third. Steve West's narration was as enjoyable as the first. This rating fell short of 5 stars due to some irritating inconsistencies with the protagonist's abilities ( ex: his mentor reaches out and connects with a surprising backhand....this sort of martial blow is supposed to be impossible to land according to the first book) and some illogical blindness of the characters. But all in all, I'm looking forward to the next book. Enjoy