I’ve been in a kind of doldrums lately and I’ve found it hard to find that super cool book that will keep me reading for hours on end. So in the meantime, I finished up some books I reviewed earlier, both from my Freebook Friday section. Also I have a CONTEST on right now, so check it out!
I perhaps should have paid more attention to the subtitle here: “Part I.” This is unmistakably a Part 1 as it ends in a total freaking cliffhanger! I mean, I know most series try to end on cliffhangers, but this one is so open it feels like it’s the ending of Part 2.
Now let’s talk good points. The author is extremely competent and presents PART of a good story–the only major flaw I noticed was a section where the author forgot about in-medias-res and painstakingly detailed the beginning of a road trip (that part was very boring but I got through it and it was the only offense of its kind). The author is also very knowledgeable about Norse mythology (off which the book is heavily based) and, while she doesn’t follow it completely, she explains within the narrative where and why she veers. I only know so much Norse Myth, but it SOUNDED believable to me, and that’s what counts.
My main criticism of IBTF: P1 is that, as it is, the climax happens a little more than halfway through and the denouement lasts all the way to the end of the book. I kept reading because I thought, “SOMETHING else has to happen!” but by the very end we only get teases of the cliffhanger. Now I know the strategy and it’s perfectly viable: make book 1 of the series free, hook readers, and get sales of books 2 and 3. There is nothing wrong with this. But if the cliffhanger follows 70 pages of falling action, the urgency is gone and I actually feel LESS like buying the next book, because I’m not all hyped up on the climax. I get the sense all three parts were written as one long book, then split apart later.
If I were asked to improve IBTF: P1, I would find a way to exchange some of the denouement with the climax so that the climax occurs as near as possible to the cliffhanger. It would take some minor plot alteration, but I feel the book would be tighter on the whole.
This is still a good story and I highly recommend it. The entire series costs about $7 and as long as the other parts are of the same quality as Part 1, it is well worth the cost.
Undermeat was a book with a lot of potential–it took the popular premise of “the hidden world” and made it its own. The author puts a lot of effort into making the world without often resorting to overlong description, which is good. I read to the end of Undermeat and overlooked its flaws (and trust me, there are some) but I won’t go into that. At the end of it all, the narrative finishes up with a good, “now we live the rest of our lives” ending. But I have one MAJOR issue with this book: I stated in my review that the “Junkie” character is the emotional heart of the story–and that’s very true; he was the main reason I kept reading–but his storyline was given no closure for me because I don’t know what happened to him.
Now there WAS something that happened to him *SPOILERS* but I couldn’t figure out what it was. AVOID THE NEXT LINE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS.
Is he dead, or a nightburner? Did he turn into a needle or did he become Thomas of the 29 needles?
This needs some major clarification. Because this character was so important to me and I didn’t figure out what happened to him, I found the rest of the book to be completely anticlimactic. Also, the book’s lack of polish in later stages really takes away from the narrative and the ‘dramatic reveal’ of certain plot bombs.
When you get right down to it, Undermeat is an unfinished novel. The author needs to do a total revision, find some editors and clean this thing up. I say he NEEDS to because there is a GOOD story here–this is a book worth reading and the flaws detract from its impact.
So they’re still both worth a look! Try them out and leave me a comment telling me if you liked them!