Stars: 2 out of 5.
I grant it to the author, he is trying to tell an ambitious story here, so that necessitates a lot of set up and worldbuilding. Unfortunately, that also means that most of these 700 some pages are exactly that – setup.
The story is very slow going and broken into three distinct POVs that don’t even converge until the very end of this book. And even then, only two of them somewhat converge, I don’t think Nasha ever made it to where Lunn and Adrian were. So we slowly get three different stories developing simultaneously, and up until the end, there was no indication at to how they were connected. Heck, even having finished the book, I’m not sure I understand fully what’s going on.
I wouldn’t have minded this too much if the characters were engaging, but as it stands, I couldn’t connect with none of them. Yes, the author did a good job explaining their motivations, but there was some spark missing with the characters. They felt more like a set of characteristics than real people. So in the end I didn’t particularly care for any of them, which made this story very difficult to commit to.
That lack of fleshed out characters compounded with a slow moving stories that were only loosely tied together made it for a very long read. I thought about DNFing it several times, but but then I had already committed so much time that I wanted to at least see what it was all about.
And that brings me to the final problem I have with this book. There is no conclusion to this story. Nothing is resolved, nothing is explained. These 700 pages are just introduction to the world and setup for the series, I guess. Where did the madness come from? We have no answer. Why some people loose their minds and other seem to still function normally when infected? No clue. What does that have to do with the clan lands and the sickness that kills the land? Your guess is as good as mine.
All this book did was set up the pieces on the board for the bigger story. I know that first books in a series have the thankless job of introducing the reader to a brand new world and characters as well as planting the seeds for the arching story for the whole series, but there also needs to be a completed storyline for that book. Readers need an emotional payoff after sticking around for so many pages. This book didn’t give me that.
And since I didn’t get an emotional payoff for reading this book, and I frankly don’t care about any of the characters, I will not be continuing with this series.
PS: I received an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.