I feel like this is more appropriately titled: Fevered Star, and other sequels that didn’t wow me like book 1
Because yes, this is going to have two extra mini reviews tacked on to the end, for Katherine Addison’s Witness for the Dead (a companion novel to The Goblin Emperor) and Sarah Lyons Fleming’s second book in her Cascadia quartet, World Between.
Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse
“Duty, Okoa. That is all you need to know. The rest will only confuse you. Do what duty requires, and you will always be in the right.”
The city of Tova is in the midst of political upheaval. The world has ended. Gods walk the earth again—but without instructions for their human avatars. As Serapio and Naranpa struggle to regain a sense of free will in the midst of their eternal struggle, they find themselves at war both with their godlike destiny and the earth-bound humans who wish to use the avatars’ powers for their own purposes. And sea captain Xiala finds herself adrift, again, struggling for a place to land.
When injured, crows may become feral, a danger to their own flock. When that happens, you must choose the collective over the individual. If you cannot save a broken crow, it is a mercy to put him down.
Ooof this was a slog.
I’m disappointed, since Black Sun was one of my favorite reads of 2020.
My views are definitely in the minority here just after its release date, however, I was hoping for more to this incredible world than what I read. I felt it suffered greatly from being a second book in the trilogy—a waystation between points.
Book one brought the problem and the destruction of the world. Book two gave me people struggling to get their footing and then a series of long chapters of these characters being maneuvered into position to prepare for book three. Instead of character arcs or motivation, there was preparation for the final showdown, whatever that might be. In place of character arcs, I felt that even though there was space (and so many pages) to give the characters a chance to heal/catch their breaths or recover from the trauma of what had happened, this just…didn’t happen? They all kinda ended book two in roughly the same place emotionally and physically (not geographically, because travel) as before. They all felt…very flat, even Xiala and Naranpa, who are my absolute favorites.
Despite my frustration in this installation’s lack of plot, the worldbuilding was truly spectacular, as was the opening of the world to show the aftermath of the Ending and what comes next. I absolutely love this world, and how the pieces are being reassembled from a long-standing structure being shattered, and who takes up power in the vacuum.
But again the plotline was mostly a movement of people into various positions and them trying to figure out what comes next, and it was kinda…boring? I was very, very bored throughout most of it.
But I will stick around for book 3, because I want to see how everything turns out!
“We are but fevered stars,” he intoned, like an orator on a stage. “Here a little while, bright with promise, before we burn away.”
I received this ARC from Edelweiss for an honest review.
The Mini Reviews!
I was going to do two separate mini reviews for each, but I’m feeling very lazy and honestly much of my feelings are the same.
So what does a book about an elf who can listen to the voices of the dead and an ensemble cast dealing with the zombie apocalypse in Eugene, Oregon, have in common, despite involving a whole lot of death?
Well, they were both disappointing, and yet I’m still going to read the sequel (this is a trend for today’s review).
Also, all three books mentioned have LGBTQ+ main character rep.
The Witness for the Dead follows Thara Celehar, the obscure and disgraced prelate tasked with uncovering the murders of the emperor and his heirs in The Goblin Emperor. I think much of my frustrations with this one where due to the lack of a glossary at the end (I can’t remember all those damn words) and the frustratingly complex use of people’s names and titles. Yes, I figured it out, but I also didn’t have the same sense of connection with Celehar as I did with Maia, and the story hopped all over the place as Celehar did his job solving murders and unexplained deaths with little to no support. The politics were cool and the world fascinating, but I felt that this one was missing a lot of of the heart that made me love The Goblin Emperor.
With World Between, I found myself having the same problems as I did with the first book—I just didn’t really care for the characters? Okay, I cared for Craig, but that was literally it. Rose felt like a self-insert (and this didn’t change), and this being book two in what was supposed to be a trilogy (she’s expanding it to four books, and I’m excited and afraid because Fleming is not precious with her characters), I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is her third series (all interrelated), and book two has always had a horrific betrayal/overwhelming thing that has my heart ripped in two and my stomach twisted in knots as I scream and cry and plead for the final book so I can be sure my babies are okay.
It didn’t really happen this time. I just…kept waiting. And scary stuff happened, but it didn’t feel like the stakes were super high? And I was confused about the final event that ended everything—and I was waiting for an important character to die and was thinking how pissed it would be if it was someone I really cared about (Craig, Mitch or Hana).
Anywho, I’ll be reading the third (and fourth) book, because I’m invested, and I need to know what happens next. Plus, it’s set in Eugene which is my kinda hometown, and I never get to read books set there.