Stars: 1 out of 5
DNF at 40%.
Well, this was a disappointment. I love discovering new authors. I also love exploring settings set up in cities other than the usual London/New York/another well-known English-speaking city. So I was very excited about this story set in Zagreb. I hoped to learn some new lore and get familiar with a city with so much history. Unfortunately, the result is less than stellar.
I get what the author tried to do. The writing is supposed to be edgy and witty, and the sarcastic commentary that breaks the third wall is supposed to illicit a chuckle from the reader now and then. And it absolutely would… if it’s well done, which is not the case here. The overwrote language, never-ending descriptions and constant “winks” from the omniscient narrator to the readers get pretty boring very quickly.
I don’t a detailed description of every single item crammed into the stairwell of a hoarder’s house. I don’t need a three page walkthrough of the market square. What I need is an engaging story and interesting characters I can follow. The rest is just setting. If I wanted to visit Zagreb remotely, I’d buy a tourist guide with pictures.
As it stands, I am not even sure, 40% in, what the story is supposed to be about. The Black Queen is returning? Cool cool… only she didn’t DO anything particularly horrendous so far, or even driven the narrative much. As far as the main villain of the story, she simply doesn’t pull the weight. As for the protagonists, they are simply blah.
There is also an overabundance of secondary characters that appear for a few pages, never to be heard of again, but are described in painstaking detail nevertheless. This overdescription of everything makes for a boring and tedious read, and since there isn’t really a good story to back it up, I don’t feel like investing more of my time into this 400 page book.
PS: I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.