There were some good elements of story here, and some good world concepts. However, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The prose is choppy, full of adverbs and redundancies. If I had to hear “he smiled grimly” one more time, I was prepared to gouge out my eardrums (I listened to the audio, obviously).
The plot drags on and on. And on. And on some more. Events take forever to set up, and then when something does happen, I’m like “what the hell? Where did that come from? Should I rewind? Oh, Hell no. I don’t care.”
I didn’t like the characters, for the most part. There were three main ones: Gerald Tarrant, a fairly interesting anti-hero; Ciani, the female protagonist, and Damien, the male protagonist. Well, I liked Gerald Tarrant pretty well, was indifferent to Ciani one way or the other, and I disliked Damien.
The dialogue was pretty horrible too, and probably the reason I didn’t like the characters. They sounded like heroes from a bad B-movie and even Tarrant sounded more like a Scooby-Doo villain half the time than a normal person.
So why 2 stars rather than 1?
I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t care for it much. I’ve heard great things about this book and the rest of Friedman’s series, so there’s a chance I’ll continue some day. But thus far, I can’t see what all the hubbub is with C.S. Friedman.