I am reviewing a DTB version.
Wow! That was the longest prologue I've ever read!
Now I can go back to page 1 and start enjoying the book.
Many reviews that mention re-reads make sense now.
Few thoughts on the book, the writing, the characters, the shenanigans. No spoilers, just want to keep my outrage contained in the spoiler tags.
Tho I like it when authors dump you right in the middle of things and you have to start running the moment you hit the ground, this was not the case. I sure did do some legwork, but it was mostly bouncing up and down on the same spot, trying to get hold on my bearings. What? Who? Where? How? but most often than not WTF? were the questions popping into my head every other paragraph.
None of the places, politics, history and even characters, including one of the MCs, are explored enough for readers to fully comprehend the magnitude of events that the author is bestowing upon us until it's almost into the second half.
* Felix doesn't get to shine in the beginning of the book; hell, Felix doesn't get to be or do anything before all hell brakes loose. He doesn't get. to. be. Although SM keeps showering us with "Felix is This" and "Felix is That", all we see is a mad, wounded, bleeding dog instead of a shiny pretty thing, and its running, whimpering, to his abuser after being called "a whore". That one word and an unsubstantiated implication to go along does not justify Felix's violent overreaction. I am sure it's all perfect in MS's head, but she clearly prefers not to share any additional bits with us (and there are more to come).
Where is this person who thinks quick on his legs? SM's shiny version of Felix should handle it in no time flat, instead he is seeking out his uber abusive master he hasn't seen in years and loading on drugs like there is no tomorrow.
Felix the magnificent, "whose deadly wit is the terror of the court” my ass. Whiny little pup!
* The book is packed with too many elaborate names that mean nothing, people who never show up and have no impact on the events, places we never go to.
Not sure why French rev. calendar was used. To give an instant historical setting? Sorry, it didn't work. You can't use a calendar and a bunch of French sounding names to instantly set the stage, unless its real France and the time is set roughly during the very end of 18th/beginning of 19th centuries. Same goes for Troia/Greece. These tricks confuse, not clarify events or describe places or historical periods in fantasy fiction.
I jam fond of French history and literature, but even then it took me a few minutes to zoom in on Pluviôse, I simply did not expect it. It was one of my first in the long line of WTF moments. I am sure many of us remember the calendar, but then there are many who do not.
*Please, translate for the overwhelming majority of your non-russian speaking audience, what the hell Morskaiakrov means. Would it kill you to make a footnote: *Morskayakrov (russian) - Sea Blood. In current setting it implies that the family who operates the boat has sea in their blood. They were born into the trade and sea is their home and their life.
Please, quit making people feel inadequate and leaving them tongue-twisted and cross-eyed.
* Too many side stories. For what purpose? Ah.... of course. Page count. But they slow down the flow of the main story and leave loose ends all over the place.
What was the deal with the hidden attic at St. Crellifer's? Great escape route. Great way in. But was it utilized? I really hope it will come handy later, because as of right now it's an opportunity and reader's time wasted.
*POV switching. Two paragraphs here. Half a page there. Past Tense, Present Tense... I am looking forward (not!) to colons in The Virtu, that's on top of Italics and Mildmay's bad and inconstant speech antics.
*Would it greatly burden you to have a glossary of terms and names in the beginning of the book? If anything it will expand your page count.
*Please, mention your septads in the glossary of your quirks. Two septads and six is an amusing take on 20 questions, but - really? Really? Invent your own question game and leave decimals out.
OK, shutting up now. There is more in my updates if anyone cares.
This book made me angry. Felix, too, at the very end, with his lack of gratitude and common sense made me angry. BUT. The story held my interest. I am starting The Virtue today. That counts for something, I guess.
PS Shannon. I feel bad for him. Felix is one ungrateful piece of ...work.
Peter is a stow-away on a boat. When the captain finds Peter, he throws him off the boat into the ocean. In the ocean, Peter meets Cuke, a sea-elf. Cuke saves Peter. They have great sex while surviving on a remote Caribbean Island. They make a baby. All is well. Good story.
On the plus side:
- Stranded/marooned/survival set-up. Robinson Crusoe, The Martian are my favorites. Definitely a plus.
- Gender-fluid sea-elf, interspecies. So, so cool! 'Cause Enemy Mine, people!!!! Three pluses in one :D
On the ...ahem ...other side:
CUKE, the sea-elf. Took me a few (dozen) pages to stop thinking about sea cucumbers :/ But only during the times when Peter and Cuke didn't have sex, cause:
- What century am I in? At first, for whatever reason, I assumed - present times. But then there are all kinds of mentions of a royal family. A historical, then? 75% into the book Cuke "heard the human surface craft land" - a sci-fi? Cause I have no clue what that "human surface craft" is - a Cessna? a space shuttle? an escape pod? a fisherman boat? a canoe? Noah's Arc? starship Enterprise? крейсер Аврора? what?
- What countr... forget country, what planet is Peter from? @.@ We are supposedly in the Caribbean. Yet Peter is an honest to god Prince. Peter and his brother Paul (names used exclusively by royals) are drinking alcohol at the tender age of 16 back home, wherever that is. Peter is also having all kinds of sex and making babies at that same age. Did Peter stow-awayed all the way from Luxembourg or United Kingdom? Belgium? No? Japan??
Here is a quiz for you.
- still sports a royal family AND
- has the age of consent set at 16 AND
- has drinking age set at 16 (or possibly even younger)?
Don't know? Me neither. Must be a different planet.
- Star fruit. I read about it enough in the past day or so to be fed up with it for the next couple of years. Thank you very much *burp*.
Bottom line: Could have been a great story if executed better.