18 fevereiro 2011

Review: Bloodring

Publisher: ROC Trade (2006)
Format: Paperback | 352 pages
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy
Description: "In a near-future world, seraphs and demons fight a never-ending battle. But a new species of mage has arisen. Thorn St. Croix is no ordinary “neomage.” Nearly driven insane by her powers, she has escaped the confines of the Enclaves and now lives among humans. When her ex-husband is kidnapped, Thorn must risk revealing her true identity to save him."
Warning: Contains SPOILERS!
"Mess" is a great way to describe this book, indeed. Story and pacing were a mess, character development was a mess and world building was... you guessed right, a mess. I struggled to get through this book, and I found that a pity since the core idea was really good. Fantastic even.

The book takes place in the near future, in a post-apocalyptic world where an Ice Age has descended and humans live under the thumb of Seraphs and under the threat of demonic forces. Also, a new race has arise, the Neomages. We're not told exactly where they came from or the origins of their DNA (which is a one of the many flaws of this book, IMHO). Neomages can tap into the remains of the "forces of Creation" left on Earth (in rocks, sand, sea, etc) and use that energy in their "workings". Basically they can do magic. But Neomages can only draw power from a specific element and seem (from what I gathered) to be weakened by the power in other elements not their own. Also, they seem to be more animalistic than human since they "go into heat" (a very Laurell K. Hamilton-esque concept that, I confess, turned me off).

To protect these Neomages from jealous and overzealous humans, the Seraphs decreed that all of them had to be locked up in Enclaves, living in seclusion and only coming out to perform jobs required by the humans.

Thorn St Croix, the protagonist has escaped the Enclave and lives under the guise of a human. She is a "stone mage" so she opened a store and provides jewelry to people all over. She's doing all right until her ex-husband goes missing.

Seems interesting right? Yeah, I thought so too. But while the author had a great idea for a story, she couldn't really piece it together in a coherent and interesting way.

The pacing is too slow and very little happens relating to the actual solving of the mystery. Most of the book is just a boring and descriptive (believe me, we get to know the color of every layer of clothes that Thorn uses) account of Thorn's days in Mineral City (where she lives). Sometimes, she tries to find stuff about her missing ex, but mostly she just tries to hide her identity from everyone, makes jewels (we're given a lot of detail on semi-precious stones and it's "properties") and rejoices at the early spring days. Sometimes a villain attacks, but the action is very tame right until the end. Oh and let's not forget she has to fight her "mage-heat" since a Seraph hybrid has appeared on her doorstep and she now has a lot of lustful thoughts and dreams and feelings. I thought the "mage-heat" part was annoying but I'm guessing it was there so Thorn could gain immunity to it, later in the book. Still, it was annoying.

Nothing much happens until the final chapters of the book, where there is a good fight between good and bad guys. Unfortunately by then I was already skimming since I just wanted to be done with the book.

The characters weren't exactly captivating either, and some of them were pretty incoherent (Thorn mostly). I didn't particularly like any of them.

What I did like was the hint that maybe the Seraphs and all weren't what they appeared.

Overall, this book was weak. The author had great ideas but failed in putting them to paper, getting side-tracked by things that probably didn't need to be included. The characters didn't get much development, though as this is a series, that isn't very serious. I felt like the story was confusing and the world-building needed... well, more building.

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