OK so I'm looking for new books to read, and I happen onto this group, and this guy tells me that while there's a book on his list that I might want to read, he can't recommend it in good conscience. Turns out he was given a copy to review, and the author was a friend, and he had to be truthful and give a critically honest (and not at all glowing) review.
Then I find out the guy's an author himself! (who knew?) And he has written a couple of book series, and one looked pretty good. It had some decent reviews, so I decided with fear and trepidation to read it hoping that I would love it. I did not want to be disappointed and have to do the whole critically-honest-and-not-at-all-glowing thing. Fortunately, I don't have to, not even close. This is such a fun read.
I loved the characters. I don't feel as if I really got inside them, and I think that may have been simply the language/dialect - but more on that in a minute. It occurs to me that more depth would have been accomplished with more angst. And one reason I appreciated this book so much was the lack of angst! Siena was unpredictable, and that's always a good thing. Just about the time I thought she'd be hateful and vengeful, she would show a softer side. At first it didn't ring true. But as the story progressed, it just revealed more facets of who she was. I found myself wanting her to leave everything she knew, and at the same time appreciating the fact that she was stuck in the trap of grief and a fear of change. I liked her simple, black-and-white view of the world, and her struggle with her own self-image.
I loved Circ. When viewed solely through Siena's adoring eyes, what's not to love? I hope his character deepens as the series progresses.
I loved the way Siena's mother is revealed layer by layer. She balanced Siena's father well within the story. He was a bad guy, but Siena's mother placed him in context. I hope that Hawk becomes a more pronounced character in the future, as well as Feve.
The pacing was great. Just when I was getting bored, things changed. And the plot twist in the middle had me yelling at the pages as I read. (now THAT'S a good story!)
The language - honestly, I hate it when stories are written in a dialect. I will say that the profanity, while appropriate, seemed a little cliche. Having said that, the dialect in this story places it in context and tends to further define the characters. I immediately heard a south Texas accent in my head as I read. So in that respect, it works.
Some thoughts about the ending: THANK YOU! These characters needed for things to end the way they did. Sigh of relief. I always appreciate it when the big thing happens, and then small things happen to taper off the story. I thought the whole tribe ending was a bit too neat; I would like to have seen the politics be slightly more messy. But I'll take it.
This was great entertainment, a medium-sized roller coaster with just enough of everything. Good luck with trying to put it down and come back later to finish - you won't be able to stand the suspense.