Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Review: Wolfsangel, by M.D. Lachlan
I back and forthed about buying this book for the longest time. When it was only newly released I dismissed it mostly because of its cover. But then I read some good reviews of it. But then I read some bad reviews. But then I read a really good review that made it sound right up my alley, and I came really close to buying it then. But then the author came over all passive aggressive on twitter over a mildly poor review of his book, and it turned me right off. Finally my finance got sick of me picking it up and putting it back whenever we were in a bookshop and bought it for me.
And my yes/no relationship with the book was destined to continue, as for the whole time I was reading it I kept changing my mind over whether or not I liked it.
The concept was a tick in the like box, definitely. A Norse king with no sons follows a prophesy to a village where he plans to pillage himself an heir. Problem is, the prophecy promised one baby boy, and he finds two...
However I found it really hard to get into Lachlan's writing style. It was too detached for me, and too often leaned on telling rather than showing. At times it was more like reading a newspaper article than a novel. It was like a man with no personal involvement was detailing something that had happened a long time ago, and the lack of warmth and immediacy really stopped me from becoming invested in the book.
And it really stopped me from caring about the characters, which as you know, is where a book lives or dies for me. It was frustrating, because while in the narrative the characters were treated almost clinically, in the dialogue they shone. Lachlan's dialogue was pretty brilliant, infused with genuine wit and life. Which only made all those stuff outside the quote marks seem all the less so. The MC Vali, for example, had some really funny one liners in his dialogue, yet in the narrative there was hint of him being witty, or being anything at all really.
It didn't matter so much during scenes of high action, and really these were then scenes I enjoyed most throughout the book. Lachlan has the knack of taking complicated battles and making them easy to follow, and exciting to boot. But in the quieter moments where you might expect to see some character development the book was sorely lacking, and action will only take you so far.
By the end I found I was skimming over the text in the barest way possible. I wanted to see how the book ended, but I didn't really care how it ended, if that makes sense.
The unanimous opinoion seems to be that the book's sequel, Fenrir, improves massively upon Wolfsangel. So I may continue on this series, but then again I may not.
This book: was bought for me