Author Topic: Non-spoiler review of TAW  (Read 1144 times)

Offline KevinSig

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Non-spoiler review of TAW
« on: August 02, 2015, 10:27:44 PM »
So hey, got an advanced reader copy of CS: TAW at SDCC, and I've recently finished it (and mostly gotten over my post-flight migraines).  So I figured I'd give you guys something of a review, sans significant details.  (I'll at least try to talk in the general, but you should be warned that I can't promise that I won't let something slip.  You have been warned.)

First off, the book starts off a tad slow, but starts to get you hooked about 4 chapters in.  The problem is, this being a new series, it takes time for you to feel any emotional interest in what happens at first.  Plus, this book doesn't jump you straight into the action, and begins a tad on the mundane side.  Personally, I think the book might have benefited from picking another perspective as a starting point.

(click to show/hide)

Still if you stick around long enough, the tedium quickly evaporates & you'll be committed to the long term.

Speaking of which, the general flow of the book is great.  While the book is presented from a multi narrative perspective, you aren't left hanging waiting for each story to resolve.  The narratives really flow well into each other, and there isn't a sense of individual story behind each chapter.  (Oh, and it isn't in a journal style, so that helps.)

I won't say that I'm nearly invested into this series, as I am the Dresden Files, but I liked it significantly more than the Codex Alera books.  I can't say that there isn't any minor quibbles or complaints I might have, but generally nothing worth mention.

The book did a fairly decent job of presenting a interesting new world & a story to go along with it.  If you are willing to give it a chance, I think you'll be pleased with your reading.

Kevin
« Last Edit: August 02, 2015, 10:34:52 PM by KevinSig »

Offline Serack

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Re: Non-spoiler review of TAW
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2015, 05:15:22 PM »
here's my review from goodreads.  Anything about the content that could be remotely considered spoiler was from WoJ material.  Yours actually does a better job of covering the overall feel of the book.  Something harder for me to do since I got it in chapter by chapter installments.

Quote
As the first in the series, it starts out by introducing a group of characters that the ruler of "Spire Albion" assembles into kind of a troubleshooting team.

The world of The Cinder Spires is comprised of huge inhabited spires that reach up from an inhospitable and mist shrouded surface. All commerce between spires is through air ships. There are air ship battles with goggles and "ethric" crystal powered "cannon" and drive systems. Also, every single one of the "ethrealists" who can manipulate the energies in the crystals and such are a bit off. Some have obvious abnormalities like the inability to use doorknobs, or only speaking to their pet crystals, but the ones that seem to be perfectly normal enjoying tea with you are the ones that you truly have to look out for.

This book is in 3rd person limited to various character's perspective. Jim has been doing an excellent job of making the perspective/voice of the different characters unique and interesting.

Oh, and there are talking cats with opposable thumbs, and they are tyrants. "I see that you are enjoying that your cellar has no rats. Perhaps if you would like to continue to enjoy this there will be a bowl of cream outside every morning."

Actually, rereading it, that review is about 95% derived from WoJ, which is probably due to my aversion to revealing beta exclusive info.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 05:16:56 PM by Serack »
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Offline Aesir

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Re: Non-spoiler review of TAW
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2015, 08:00:34 PM »
So hey, got an advanced reader copy of CS: TAW at SDCC, and I've recently finished it (and mostly gotten over my post-flight migraines).  So I figured I'd give you guys something of a review, sans significant details.  (I'll at least try to talk in the general, but you should be warned that I can't promise that I won't let something slip.  You have been warned.)

First off, the book starts off a tad slow, but starts to get you hooked about 4 chapters in.  The problem is, this being a new series, it takes time for you to feel any emotional interest in what happens at first.  Plus, this book doesn't jump you straight into the action, and begins a tad on the mundane side.  Personally, I think the book might have benefited from picking another perspective as a starting point.

(click to show/hide)

Still if you stick around long enough, the tedium quickly evaporates & you'll be committed to the long term.

Speaking of which, the general flow of the book is great.  While the book is presented from a multi narrative perspective, you aren't left hanging waiting for each story to resolve.  The narratives really flow well into each other, and there isn't a sense of individual story behind each chapter.  (Oh, and it isn't in a journal style, so that helps.)

I won't say that I'm nearly invested into this series, as I am the Dresden Files, but I liked it significantly more than the Codex Alera books.  I can't say that there isn't any minor quibbles or complaints I might have, but generally nothing worth mention.

The book did a fairly decent job of presenting a interesting new world & a story to go along with it.  If you are willing to give it a chance, I think you'll be pleased with your reading.

Kevin

I tend to prefer more serious tales, so my preference is for Codex Alera over Dresden Files over Cinder Spires, but aside from that I agree with you. I thought the prologue of TAW was very weak, and the first two chapters weighed down with steampunk mumbo-jumbo that wasn't sufficiently explained.  I also agree that if someone is willing to persevere, things improve relatively quickly and the book turns into an enjoyable read.

I like the talking/fighting house cats for their novelty, but they also push the campyness factor and I hope we don't see a deluge of "copy cat" authors also creating talking cats who can fight alongside humans just because Jim did it here. It's fine if used carefully and judiciously, but I'd probably start gagging if they became commonplace in sci-fi/fantasy.

 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2015, 08:09:27 PM by Aesir »
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