The Goodreads Choice Awards 2022 for Fantasy have been overwhelmingly declared for House of Sky and Breath, by Sarah J. Maas. It is the second in a series, so I thought I should start with the first novel, House of Earth and Blood.
I guess it more or less counts as urban fantasy. There is video, cell phones, and “audio mail” (hello, it’s called “voice mail”). It’s starting to appear that there is a lot about recreational drugs. There’s a whole set of magical/mythical character types, including lots of werewolves and were-other-things, a political structure, etc. I’m only just getting into it, but it does seem more than a little derivative. All of the important characters are female (unless you count the villain, who is probably important, but we haven’t gotten to him him yet). There are some male characters, but so far they are two-dimensional and ridiculous.
Apart from the misandric leanings, there seems to be much unnecessary and mundane content. It is an 800+ page tome, and I feel like there’s going to be a 150 page story in it. We’re about to have a whole chapter about going to a night club. (I’ve been to night clubs many times, sober, and it isn’t like that at all.) Mostly, it has just been a lot of catty and unrealistic dialogue.
I’m only about 7% of the way in. Maybe I’m not giving it a fair chance.
I almost abandoned The Big Nowhere about 20% in, and I’m glad I didn’t. The trope of the police detective going it alone was too much for me, and I couldn’t tell whether all the homophobia and glorifying dirty cops was intended to be ironic or not.
Maybe I’ll let this one rest a couple of days, and then see if I can slog through a description about how absolutely amazing it is to be in a night club. Hopefully, the conflict of the story will emerge soon.
Update: On nearly the next page, the story got interesting, and more serious. What transpired next may not be the inciting incident, but it’s one of them. The party girl has changed. And a few important male characters have been introduced, one of whom has become a POV character, and maybe a secondary protagonist. I am sufficiently mollified to continue through this story.
Update: I did finish it, and it was pretty good. A bit more of a romance than I really care for, and (as I understand is typical for the urban fantasy genre) it was laden with an unnecessary amount of sarcasm and dramatic posturing. However, it was engaging and kept me interested. I’ll probably continue with the series.