I really hate to write this review because I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in this series. The setting makes use of traditional fantasy elements but the writing style is much more in line with urban fantasy, which makes for an appealing combination. The sizable cast of characters has been interesting and the writing was entertaining and witty. I have many passages highlighted with my Kindle that made me chuckle or laugh out loud.
Then along comes Bewitched & Betrayed which brings all the fun to a screeching halt. I actually struggled to finish reading it. Not only is there too much exposition, especially in the first third or so of the book, but it's exposition at its worst. Some amount is a necessary evil to remind readers of previous events or to get new readers caught up. But it is possible to work that information into a novel without causing undue eye rolling or irritated grumbling on the part of the reader.
Other somewhat related issues also served to bog down the book unnecessarily. There's way, way too much repetition of already stated information. In several cases there are only a few pages in between repetitions. Readers are smart people, just tell us once and we'll remember. Additionally, way too much was way over explained in Raine's thoughts. The same thing applies, trust readers. We catch on pretty quick and don't need every little thing spelled out to the point where we feel like saying, "I get it, get on with it."
With all those elements bogging things down it seems like the wit was simply left out this time for lack of page space. I didn't feel compelled to highlight. I didn't really laugh.
There are some good points in terms of the story arc. Some things were resolved, some things moved forward, some things were set up for the next book. Movement in plotline is always a positive and the book wasn't stagnant in that regard. We learn a lot more about secret plots and machinations, both current and those to come. As in the first three books the characters are very interesting with a wide variety thrown into the mix. The new character introduced, Imala, is intriguing and I'm eager to see how she will factor into things in the future.
If this had been a first book I'd probably would have given it a negative rating. As a book continuing a series I'll rate it a +1. For people reading the series, despite what I've said, I wouldn't recommend skipping this one because too many important plot developments would be missed. I'll still probably read the next one and hope that it is a return to what originally made the series so captivating. But if not then I will have to bid Raine Benares a sad, yet fond, farewell.
Kindle Note: Aside from a few hyphen issues the ebook is well done, with chapter marks showing up on the progress bar.
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About the reviewer
Robin L. McLaughlin (SeattleRobin)
I'm an avid reader. I own the Kindle 2 and love it. I read ebooks almost exclusively now. I read mostly fiction, primarily fantasy (including urban fantasy), mysteries, and science fiction. Though … more
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