by Lee LaCroix
Series: In the Absence of Kings, #1PDF, 344 pg.
Read: December 26 – 27, 2016
I don’t normally get into the nitty-gritty of the writing when I compose these posts — not because I don’t notice or care about it — but sometimes you have to. When I can’t make it past the first three paragraphs without the writing drawing attention to itself (not in the delicious way that Neil Gaiman or Don Winslow do so often), I feel like I’ve got to mention it.
In a different time, there was a forest that was as deep as it was plentiful. . .
That boy, Novas, possessed deep green eyes as verdant as the wild around him . . .
. . . He was taught that the land was just as alive as he was . . .”
That phraseology isn’t wrong — but it’s easy to overuse, and when you do it once in each of the first three paragraphs, you might was well be waving a flag to draw attention to it. Now, there’s no author that doesn’t stumble a bit, I can’t tall you how many times I’ve posted something here that I wish I’d rewritten a few times — I don’t want to pick on him, but wow, this kind of thing kept coming.
It wasn’t too much later that Garreth (I’ll talk about him in a bit) tells his son,
“Over my employment, many people tried to kill the King, and it was my duty to stand in between them. Instead, I put them to death…”
Soon, Garreth and his son head to the capital, but we read:
In order to reach the capital of Amatharsus, their journey was not an odyssey of undertaking.
Editing is about more than just grammar and spell checking — it shouldn’t be less than that. I don’t know if I could find a page that didn’t have a problem with the writing.
Enough about that, I had a few more notes on that front, but no one wants to read it (I don’t want to write it). Let’s get on to story and character.
Garreth is a former guard of the king, who has taken a post guarding the forest. And, let’s be honest, doing something else, too. But LaCroix won’t reveal that until book three. We know nothing about his wife and/or the mother of his son. We’ll probably learn about Novas’ parentage in book three, too. Anyway, the two learn that the king is dead and that The Queen/Powers acting without knowledge and consent of the Queen/The Queen working with these Powers have decided to level the forest for economic reasons.
Garreth can’t believe this, so he and the boy leave for the capital to find out what’s really going on. Along the way, they learn more about the Blackwoods Company — the same people out to raze the forest — who are playing both sides of the law — thieving, pillaging and whatnot, while acting as enforcers for the authorities. The two join up with — and taking leading roles — in the resistance to the new order that has developed in the absence of a king.
Overall, this is a poorly written book. The story was adequate, but there was nothing about it that made you pay attention. Many of the characters had potential to be something, but they end up being something we’ve all seen dozens of times before in better stories. I can’t think of anything to commend this novel.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I really wish this had been more timely, sorry about that.