All the anticipation in the world couldn’t save this read for me. I am so confused about how I feel about this, mainly because I read it on a long haul flight while battling a pounding headache.
See, I wanted to like it, I really did. There were some moments where I came tantalisingly close to feeling excited, like when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, but lose it anyway.
So my split personality is back to subject this to close scrutiny.
Me: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!
Myself: It’s too late for the first, and a tad early for the second.
Me: Who let you in, sourpuss?
Myself: You did.
Myself: Let’s cut to the chase and talk about the book.
Me: Oh yeah, the chase scene was great, wasn’t it?
Myself: There was no chase scene, genius.
Me: There wasn’t? What was that thing with the tank then?
Myself: That was a get-the-hell-out-of-this-plot-knot-somehow scene.
Me: *mutters* I still thought it was cool though…
Myself: One tank does not make an entire book awesome.
Me: But it does make me a happy camper for five pages.
Myself: I concede the point.
Me: The characters, then. We liked…what’s her name…Nina, right?
Myself: See, if you have to work to remember their names, it’s already a failure.
Me: I remember Kaz though. Quite well.
Myself: That’s because he was a straight Artemis Fowl rip-off. I normally like aloof teenage guile heroes, but this guy was such a cardboard cut out.
Me: What, you didn’t like the romance between him and…what’s her name again? Inej? It was strangely sweet.
Myself: I did, but (a) Kaz’s POV was so far and few between, I didn’t really feel it, (b) what kind of a lame excuse is he doesn’t like being touched? I’m annoyed because I understand that feeling really well (I hate being touched without warning) but if this is going to be used as THE relationship conflict, it’s disappointing.
Me: True dat.
Myself: I also think the scarcity of Kaz’s POVs are another writing failure where if we got too much info on what he was thinking, the shenanigans he gets up to would be less awe inspiring. It’s as if the only impactful thing about Kaz’s genius plans is that he doesn’t reveal them till they’re happening. I’d say that letting your heist team know your plans is common sense.
Me: But Liar Game‘s Akiyama does the same thing. Don’t see you harping on about how disappointing he is.
*brief moment of silence as we swoon over all the versions of Akiyama while looking for gifs*
Myself: I really can’t decide which one I like the best…
Me: Me neither…
Myself: *clears throat* Back to the point, Kaz’s problem is that he is running a massive operation that requires more than just manipulating people’s emotions, and I’d say obscuring vital parts of the plan is a major black hole.
Me: Fine, then you have to agree Nina was a great character, and the Jesper-Wylan thing was interesting.
Myself: Yes on both counts. I just didn’t ship Nina with that Norse god dude. That was all.
Me: Who? Oh, Matthias?
Myself: First off, when they said witch-hunter I kept picturing that grizzled old guy from the Witcher games.
Me: Heh, yeah.
Myself: I sort of liked the complexity of his character, how he was torn between the propaganda and his own feelings.
Me: Finally one good thing out of you.
Me: Oh boy, here it comes.
Myself: Why did Wylan not have a POV? Do we not need to get inside his head?
Me: Yeah, why was that?
Myself: Again, I think it was because it would have given away his big secret, and I am not happy about that.
Me: Some parts were cool though. Like the..uh…
Myself: *smugly* Exactly. Can’t remember one exciting event, can you?
Me: *grumbles* Whatever.
Myself: The plot kept oscillating between too complex and too predictable. You know that part where Kaz nearly drowns in the underground river?
Myself: Why write it like a major suspense scene? There was a whole will-he-survive-won’t-he vibe to it that was irritating. It’s obvious that he had to be in the next chapter, why pretend otherwise? He doesn’t come to any life-changing conclusions either.
Myself: Tsk tsk. Anyway, I’ve said all I have to say. It was a great premise that drowned in too many Hollywood scenes.
Me: You read it in one sitting and yet you say that?
Myself: It was very readable, but I expected more from all the hype.
Me: So it lacked punch, basically.
Me: Three stars again.
Myself: Seems so.
Me: Wanna go eat lunch?
Myself: Yeah, this is getting tiring.