Sunday, 1 March 2015

Review: Time and Tithe

Time and Tithe
Time and Tithe by L.J. Cohen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a difficult review to write, since I know the author on social media and like her, but I didn't particularly like this book.

I enjoyed the previous book in the series, and felt that it was a fresh and interesting take on the fae. I've since seen similar things from a couple of other authors: the fae as one-percenters (or the post-Occupy public idea of one-percenters), superficial, concerned only with their own power and not at all with its cost to everyone else, selfish and self-involved, with no insight into the family values of Ordinary Decent Folks and how those values make Ordinary Decent Folks stronger and better than them. (By "family values", incidentally, I mean here the value accorded to the ties of family.)

Now, there's nothing wrong with that as a premise at all, and that isn't what I didn't enjoy. The problem I had is that, to me, this book lacked light and shade.

With the exception of a few brief moments of mild modern American sarcasm from the modern American characters, the whole of the book seemed stuck in a mood I want to describe as "portentious, and a bit angsty". Stakes are high, emotions are high, conflict levels are high, everyone is pitted against everyone else or forming apparently doomed alliances, one thing after another is going horribly wrong, and there's never a moment to breathe.

This might have worked if there hadn't also been such a prevailing mood of confusion and helplessness, in which nobody knew how to resolve the situation. Characters were thrashing round, reacting without a plan, or angsting about how they didn't know what to do (and therefore doing nothing), right up to the end. It was probably inevitable, therefore, that the final resolution seemed a bit contrived and unconvincing to me (especially since aspects of it bore strong similarities to the resolution of the first book).

I'm not suggesting that the book wasn't well done. It may also have set out to achieve exactly what I didn't enjoy. But I didn't enjoy it.

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