Monday, 18 November 2013

Review: Wrath

Wrath by Morgan Alreth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: the author offered me a free copy, with no expectations, because I had given the first book a good review.

I very much enjoyed the first volume, and, unusually for the second volume of a series, this improves on the first, if anything. It certainly doesn't suffer from the usual Middle Book Syndrome. Many second volumes are largely filler; this stands on its own as an enjoyable book, while building on the first volume and setting up for the third.

I am heartily sick of the Chosen One of Prophecy, but Morgan Alreth manages the difficult feat of giving us a Chosen One of Prophecy who's not spoiled, entitled, whiny, Cursed with Awesome or operating in god mode, and what's more gives us True Love that's troubled and far from idyllic (for believable reasons). He gives us a female lead who's not a Kick-Ass Heroine (which means exactly like an excessively violent man, only emotionally screwed up and interested in clothes), a Damsel in Distress, a Woman in a Refrigerator or any of the other worn-out tropes I've grown so weary of. Pete and Jess feel like real characters, not cardboard cut-outs covered in trope tags. Their actions, their relationships, how they feel about their situation, their conflicts, all ring true, and I never felt that they were doing, saying or feeling anything simply in order to make the plot come out some predetermined way. The secondary characters mostly felt real as well, though with so many of them not every one could be distinctive.

The writing has the occasional touch of passive voice, though it's not obtrusive, and the version I read needed a thorough proofread. (I've passed some notes on to the author and anticipate that the proofreading errors will be fixed very soon.) Otherwise, it's well-written, vivid and vigorous, and carried me enjoyably through a believable plot in the company of likeable and realistic characters.

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