Top positive review
Quick rush with a strong hit
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2018
So Silvers and O'Connell are hitting a very hard but brisk pace with the Phantom Queens, and I'm of somewhat mixed feelings on it. While the twists and turns, character development and pacing of the action are still fitting well and the overall feel of the novel matches the tone and developed atmosphere of the previous novels, the feeling of growing escalation is also being matched by an increasing sense of compression. Book 5, Moscow Mule had a similar feel to it, but it is even more prevalent here in book 6, and while we are hit with four distinct game changing details in this installment, the compressed feel and thus compressed sense of pacing takes away a good chunk of the gravitas that should come with them.
Part of Silvers and then later O'Connell's juggling act has always been balancing speed and quality. The Nate Temple novels were originally set to a more typical release pace, even as Silvers moved to writing full time and began the Feathers and Fire series at the same time. O'Connell's inclusion into the mix debuted with four novels in a quick release schedule and since moved to a similar pace as the rest, though the rest are now moving along at much quicker rates.
That the quality has remained despite the increasingly driven timetable of their releases is a testament to their literary talents and developed skill. It is entirely possible that O'Connell has simply chosen to escalate the pace of his writing to fall in stride with the developments Silvers has been making with his two series, but I'm at the point of wondering if its not stretching the overall arc for Quinn MacKenna a bit too thinly for how some of the plot points are being developed. One of the four aforementioned game changers in the book relates to one of Quinn's longest standing heritage questions, but is glossed over so quickly and with so little digestion for her or the reader for the plot at hand that it almost feels like it was penned in after the fact.
The book is not flawed for this, or lower in quality for it, overall it is another great installment and I'm as always looking forward to the next. But it does make me wonder if the constant escalation of stakes and increasingly grander twists and turns for the characters isn't starting to weigh on the natural development of the overall universe a bit. Even the characters themselves are starting to seem a bit numbed to how certain things unfold and given the quality of the series and the universe overall, I'd hate to see it start breaking down under over-saturation of dramatic plot developments.