Musings on writing, lessons learned by an aspiring professional, book reviews, movie reviews, an occasional t.v. show review, and unashamed opinion.

Friday, June 22, 2012

False Covenant

The second Widdershins adventure by Ari Marmell is in a lot of ways an improvement on the first.  If you have yet to pick up False Covenant and Thief's Covenant, what are you waiting for?  These little books are stuffed full of action, horror, romance, wit, and charm.  The characters are complex, the setting vibrant and interesting.  And, I am happy to say, the series will continue.  Marmell announced on his website a few weeks back that Pyr bought two more Widdershins novels.  This is one series you don't want to leave unread.

FC picks up six months after Thief's.  Our heroine (am I being politically incorrect by using that term?) is still recovering from the events that culminated in the first book's climax.  (Of course I won't give anything away.)  She is a bit wiser, a bit more cautious.  And she wasn't wanting to be a thief anymore.  Well, turns out life is hard when you can't steal for your sustenance, and so Widdershins finds herself in another caper that doesn't exactly turn out the way she had been planning.

Meanwhile, the city of Davillon is in disfavor with the Church.  A new Bishop has been sent to the city to whip its inhabitants into shape.  He certainly means well, but his schemes go sour and put the citizens of Davillon in real, terrifying danger.

I still have some issues with Marmell's point of view.  It's mostly third-limited, but he seems unable to resist pointing things out as the narrator.  Most of the time it doesn't detract from the story--it usually serves as pleasant bits of humor.  I would still prefer a tighter view point, however, but that's only because I'm biased toward a tight third.  Can't help what I prefer.

The horror in FC is brilliant.  The baddie in this book (had to be inspired by Jack, from Nightmare Before Christmas) is one of the creepiest villains I've ever read in fantasy.  I cringe to think what would have happened if this book were written for the adult market.  Things get dark enough with it being written for teenagers.

There was some language (F bombs) that I wasn't expecting.  Not that there is a hard rule in YA that an author must censor words, but it did come as a surprise.  Didn't really put me off... I snarf George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie books like fat kids snarf cake.  Made my wife wince, though.  She loves YA but doesn't enjoy R-rated content.

I missed the out-of-sequence story telling from Thief's Covenant--it was a different approach and I enjoyed it.  I suppose it wouldn't have really worked, since only six months have passed since the end of book one.  Maybe Marmell will do it again in a later addition?

False Covenant gets 4.5 stars out of 5.      

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