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Let’s Pretend This Is a Book Review [Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks]

May 30, 2016

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I want to write about books again, but it’s hard. Or it feels hard – maybe it won’t even be hard once I do it.

This was one of far too many books I bought at the flea market. For just 50 cents, I don’t care if it’s the last book in a series or trilogy, I don’t care if I don’t understand everything, I just want to get a feel for the author, to decide if I want to read more by him or her.

And in this case, the answer is a great big no.

The most entertaining thing about Beyond the Shadows was ranting about it to my colleague. Mostly along the lines of, “I don’t care about any of these characters, why won’t they just die?!”

I think my issues boil down to the fact that the book was too focused on plot, on constant action, and not enough on the characters and worldbuilding. I felt like I was constantly just told how the characters feel about one another, but I never got to spend enough time inside anyone’s head to really feel it.

There was also far too much magic for my tastes. I prefer my books just lightly flavoured with magic, but what I got here felt like a constant stream of, “Oh, there is a problem? Clearly the solution to that is magic!” I find it far more rewarding to read about characters solving problems by other means, and I like magic that has limits and clear rules – if there were any to the many kinds of magic in this book, I didn’t notice.

And far too many of the characters were kings and other “important” people. Having a few of those is fine, but generally I find it much easier to connect with the little nobodies caught up in the grand plots.

And speaking of the plot… I can’t even say anything about that. I was so caught up in, “I don’t care, just die already!” that I couldn’t even pay much attention to what was going on.

If Beyond the Shadows were a meal, it would be all meat, with next to no sides, and far too much salt. And I can’t eat meat if I don’t have some vegetables to go with it – I literally can’t swallow it, it makes me gag. Which is very much how I felt about the book.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2016 02:28

    I have book one in this series, picked it up at a book sale. Interesting review. I find you learn more about a book when someone doesn’t like it than when they do. I’ll still try it out eventually, but if I don’t like it I won’t feel so bad about it.

    • May 31, 2016 11:44

      It”ll be interesting to see what you think about it.

      I don’t like reviewing books when I can’t say anything nice about them, but it was this or nothing. And the next one will be one of my favourites.

      (Note to self: no, email replies from my phone don’t work as planned)

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