Top critical review
Doesn't work for me
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2020
Waited too long to return a digital book, so I might as well finish it. I'm about halfway through and out of patience, so it's skim-reading from this point on.
The writer's most annoying, and I state again **ANNOYING**, device: super short chapters. They're intrusive, leading to choppy exposition. Every 3-4 pages, even smack in the middle of an action scene, he cuts in a new chapter whether it's needed or not. This device is used by some writers supposedly to hype the action, but it's little more than a bad habit. Because of it, there's no chance of building a scene or character exposition.
The writer keeps the pace fast, but it's shallow. Once I'm done reading, I will forget the characters and move on to something else. It's popcorn reading. I'm glad I did not pay more for it.
The premise is good. I got a "Solo and Illya" vibe off the cover art, but with a British sidekick, not Russian. It looked exactly like something I would love. I had fun at first, but their banter wore thin after a short while. As plot exposition piled up, the supposedly sensible Brit guy went off the rails and did "teh schtupid" stuff. It was out of character for someone with his background, and that's about when the short chapters really got in the way of the narrative.
It was okay at first, despite the annoying short chapters. THEN the writer decided to drop in a whacking great hell hound on the heroes. This is way too similar to Mouse from the Dresden Files, so I won't be getting any more from the writer. I get the "when you steal, steal from the best" but this took it too far and that's the point where I tried to return the book. Oops on me, two days too late. *sigh*
The real problem, though, is the hero. He's an idiot. Other characters agree he's an idiot. They comment way too often about it. He snarks off to the wrong entities, and it ceased to be amusing and became an irritant.
I like smart protags who learn from their experiences. This is why I disliked the whole "Ross and Rachel" debacle on Friends. They were both unlikable idiots and deserved each other, don't know why that was such a big ratings grabber, but I shift channels when they turn up on reruns.
Can't do that with a book when the main character is an idiot.
Most readers won't notice this stuff. It's otherwise a fast paced D&D game in an alternate New York. The action goes so quickly that no one sees the flaws. However, this is mind candy, not meant to have much depth. Keep juggling the action and the traded quips -- even when they are not appropriate -- and the reader won't register much of it. They'll enjoy the ride.
Not for me. I wanted the hero to do *something* intelligent, anything to prove he's worth my time, but nope. It was snark, bad decisions, and no indication of even once thinking things through. I mentioned D&D, and that's what this resembles. The protags go adventuring, collect experience points and booty, get their bums kicked, while this reader tics off plot points.
A major plot point got dropped in one scene, and I already know what's to happen at the big climax. If I'm wrong I'll correct this review, but it seems as inevitable as Godzilla clog dancing on Tokyo. I'll let you know.
I was wrong. The big plot point, AKA clumsy foreshadowing, never happened. The ending was different than I thought, but not satisfying. The writer will have enthusiastic fans, but include me out.