Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Ok, I'd like to start of with 1) an observation and 2) a confession.
1) The small passage quotes at the start of each chapter irked me... irked me something fierce. Deal-breaker? No, but it was evident right out of the gate.
2) You should know that I was unaware that this was the second book in a series before I requested it. This might not have been a problem seeing as how it was following different characters this time around BUT the whole backstory... the whole history of the Magic and the history of the World in general was explored more deeply in the first book... so I've heard. That being said I did still like the background building but it did not feel seamless nor complete... the Plot skipped around like a truffle pig with ADD rooting around erratically, searching for some fertile Plot but alas, there was none to be found here. Harsh? Yes, but this book took a loooong time for me to get around to reading (and to get into) and the premise was SO promising... I'm sorely disappointed though... in fact, I'd like to ask for a Time refund but hey... C’est la vie
Now, characters. Firstly, I DO NOT appreciate nascent romantic relationships that feel forced... it makes me cringe and look to skim... ugh! Secondly, I (usually) loathe insta-love, it has an extremely low success rate with me... UGH!! BUT with both of those strikes I must admit that the biggest problem I had with the characters were that I found it extremely difficult to muster feelings for ANY of the cast (and the POV list was large... larger than it needed to be)... that's a travesty in my eyes... a severe, literary faux pas. Without relateable/loveable/loathable/gripping/interesting (take your pick) characters to commiserate with and feel for, what kind of cohesion can the best of plots have?? I'll answer that obviously rhetorical question... it's NONE!
Soooo it's obvious, I'm one of THOSE readers. I like my stories to be heavily character driven or at least have nailed 2 out of the 3 of the Trifecta of Awesomeness categories.
The Trifecta of Awesomeness:
writing quality + character development + world building
This is the rubric I use to judge a book... it's consistent and fair so when I say that Whispers of Shadow and Flame did not slay any of those three (in fact it barely handled one of them well... the second was a fail and the third was just MEH... so basically it's a wash) categories then you know exactly why I am saying that this book is not for me.
Writing: decent- succinct but sloooow paced ✔️
Characters: woefully underdeveloped and flat ✖️
World: erratic but decent