Friday, 25 October 2013

Soul of Fire by Laura Anne Gilman ( Book #2 of The Portal's Duology )




Taking place a couple of weeks (almost ten weeks, five days and seven hours to be more precise)  after Jan and her friends went up against the preternaturals of the Court Under The Hill, to get Jan's boyfriend back from the Elves' clutches, the story starts a few days before the expected attack on naturals (us) and Super(naturals) by the queen's consort and his Court.

What's the difference between preternatural and supernaturals?
Well, supernaturals like Martin (the Kelpie) and A. J. ( the Lupin) share our world, and are less inclined to torture and kill us... Martin can, on occasion, drown someone due to his nature but, like he says: It's a thing...
Preternaturals, see us as pets... replaceable ones.

There's nothing particularly bad about this story... but also there is nothing particularly great about it.
The writing is okay, and the author took great troubles in creating non idiotic characters. But in the end... it just didn't work for me.

After the ultimatum given to Jan and friends by the queen's consort, our merry gang know that if they want to have any chances of survival, they have to find the Preternatural Queen who left her Court and Consort in Under the Hill in favour of the Naturals world.

After reading and enjoying the first one, I was really looking forward to this title.
Unfortunately, just like the Queen searching for an elusive spark to give meaning to her word, this story felt a little too bland for me. With no spark whatsoever.

Like I said there's nothing particularly wrong with the characters. In no moment whatsoever did the author tried to romanticize supernaturals or Preternaturals. She didn't create a love triangle... or rectangle...

Jan could like Martin as a friend, but she was at all times aware that his morality set isn't the same as hers.

However the pace is much too slow... things take way too long to get moving. And when they do they aren't sufficiently engaging. There was some attempt at mixing sci-fi with fantasy that, for me, didn't work.
But give it a try, maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did.

Take Jan and Tyler's relationship  for instance: after all they went through, I wanted to see a real dialogue between them. But, in the end, what I got I "heard" it from Jan.
Look, although I'm not obsessed about romances in books, I think this is one of those cases where the story would have benefited from one. Because in the end, there were a lot of interesting "ingredients", but the "spices" used just weren't enough to spice this up.
Even so, I really enjoyed the first one in this duology, and may be able to re-read it one of these days


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