Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review: mini-reviews of Half the World, The Whitefire Crossing, and Lagoon

Half the World steps away from Yarvi, now Father Yarvi, pushing him back to the shadows where he belongs and follows two new characters, Thorn and Brand.  Thorn is a young girl, touched by Mother War who struggles to overcome the male-dominated warrior culture of The Shattered Seas.  Brand is a young man who wants to be a warrior, but also wants to do the right thing.

In many ways this is a better book than Half a King.  Instead of a revenge story, we get a quest and adventure tale with the characters trying to level a political playing field that is tilting away from them.  We get to see part of the larger world as well as quite a lot of character development better than any in the first book.  This novel is another fantastic outing by Joe Abercrombie. 
Rating: 9/10. 

The Whitefire Crossing is the first book by Courtney Schafer and the first book in The Shattered Sigil trilogy.  The book follows two characters: Dev, a freelancer for mountain caravans who is also a smuggler, and Kiran, a mage on the run who is willing to do what it takes to be smuggled by Dev from a city where magic is allowed free reign across the border to a neighboring country where magic is tightly controlled.

The book essentially has two halves.  The first covers the mountain crossing and deals a lot with geography and mountaineering while the second deals with the consequences of the smuggling plot.  There is a great deal with magic and how it is handled and regulated in this book.  The main thing though is that the author makes certain to make complex, gray characters who do things for their own reasons.  Perhaps too much so, but it works fairly well.  Certainly a novel worth reading. 

Rating: 8/10. 

Lagoon is set in the city of Lagos, Nigeria when an alien race appears and makes contact.  I should say right off the bat that this book is less about the aliens and more about what happens to the city and its people.  Basically, a bit of a character study of the effect of this kind of world-changing event, in a world that is already changing.  As other people have noted, it makes for an interesting and wide-ranging story, but also a frustrating one because it feels like part of the story is missing.  Those looking for a deeper, more complex tale or those who wish to know more about the aliens and their intentions will be disappointed. 

Rating: 7.5/10.

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