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As this is the sixth or seventh book Mr. Belcher has written (second in the Nightwise storyline, and third on audible) I believe most readers will know what to expect in his novels, but for those who don't here is a quick heads up. These books are some of the most messed up, gruesome, and violent books I have ever read. I am pretty confident that there isn't a way to make violence, torture, sexual content (yes there is rape), or anything else as dark as the stuff in this book more vivid in imagery, without making it into a movie. Belcher is a master of imagery and description for better or worse.
Now that I have made a point that I felt needed to be explained, lets talk about the story and characters, because they exist and for the most part the book is enjoyable. The plot takes the form of a traditional mystery book to an extent, but there is less sleuthing, and more of a crime syndicate ask for favors style of detective work going on. Like the first book Ballerd is trying to find someone, but this time it is to hopefully save that person instead of try and kill them. Overall, the plot works, but to an extent I think Belcher does a slightly poorer job of explaining exactly what happens throughout the story than in Nightwise.
I believe that characters have always been Belcher's strong point, and he does a good job with them in this book as well. I will say for such a short book he does introduce a lot of characters, and some of them serve the purpose of only advancing the plot and just kind of fade out of the story. However, for those main characters that surround Laytham Belcher does a fine job of fleshing them out and making them jump off the page.
One other issue I had with the book was the constant harping on Ballerd and his relationship with his supposed friends, which the author keeps pressing throughout the story. The basic theme carried forward from the first book, is that Ballerd has this lone gunslinger theory, and tries to keep his friends out of trouble, and this usually almost gets him killed, until one of his friends helps him out. Then the friends yell at him for trying to do it alone again. This scenario plays out in the first book a couple times, but in this novel it is an almost constant occurrence, and it quickly gets old and drags the story down. I don't want to spoil anything, but it does seem that Ballerd is getting over this problem at the very end of the novel, and like the first novel in this series this book feels like it is really building on a long sequence of books like the Dresdin Stories. Overall, I didn't think this book was great, (not quite as good as Nightwise and definitely not as good as Brotherhood of the Wheel), but there was still appeal to the story, and plenty of awesome action to enjoy. I am curious to see where the story goes next, because there is definitely a lot of upside with the development of Laytham's character and the universe surrounding him.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The second round of this series was incredible. I look forward to getting to know these characters even more in the next installment!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful