Friday, December 20, 2013

Review Me Twice - In Liam's Wake by Ashlyn Forge

This week, we read In Liam's Wake (which... I believe was a NaNoWriMo novel for Forge at first.  Yay, NaNo!)  As usual, I'm going to start with the things that I liked about the book.

I really liked the characters in this book.  They all had distinct voices and personalities and mysteries.  You never really KNEW 100% what was going on with any of the characters until you reached the end of the book.  I thought that the flash backs were a nice touch, letting us see what happened then as opposed to what was going on now.  Just when you think you know what's going on... BAM, nope, just kidding.  You don't.

I really liked Forge's world building.  We were given the colony, a place that had crazy rules and was a prison, but no one seemed to really think that way except for Liam.  I liked that the topsiders were a part of, yet separate from the colony.  Everyone paid their debts topside, and if they didn't die by the time the debts were paid, they got to go to the colony.  It was their reward.  But there was no love between topsiders and the colony.  It was an interesting dynamic.    

Everything FIT in the world too.  For instance, since it was underground there were water rations and specific foods (like orange juice) were incredibly expensive because they were hard to come by.  Everything really worked together and you could tell that a lot of effort had gone into the descriptions of the colony to make it that way.  I appreciate that.

There were some things that really turned me off to the book, however.  Liam and Riley were both very vocally against homosexuality (which is kind of necessary in the colony because there are so few females.)  But it seemed like the second it came to each other, it was fine.  It just seemed really off to me that they would be so against it everywhere else, but so willing to enter into that relationship with each other.

The other thing is that there was way to much sex/sexual scenes going on in the middle of this book.  I don't mind sex scenes (after all, I'm a Jean Auel fan and you just can't get more sex than that), but I felt like it didn't really serve a purpose here.  It was also just there all of a sudden.  It went from Riley hating Liam to them having sex in about 2.5 seconds.  And while this DOES get explained later, I just feel as if there was too much for too long of a time.

The story also gets lost in itself sometimes.  You really have to pay attention to what's going on or you're going to be lost.  Which... is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you're not an attentive reader, it could cause you problems in this particular book.

Over all it was well done, well paced, and well edited, which is always appreciated on this blog.

THIS is how pacing is done. Take note... everyone. It wasn't a FAST read (but then again, I was reading it on my computer, which is slower for me than the old-fashioned paper version) but it was a SMOOTH read, which I love. Things happen fluidly. (Though, you do need to be pretty absorbed in order for this to work. I don't think this makes a good read-it-in-pieces-on-your-lunch-break kind of book, which is how I had to read it. It's better as a sit-by-the-fire-in-a-Snuggie-and-fly-through-it sort of book.)

Whenever you have a setting with very different rules from our real-world settings (usually futuristic or alternate history) it can be difficult to explain all the new stuff without starting off with a laundry list. "So there's this place, and it's divided into these different areas, and there's a caste system that goes like this..." Yeah, that's not going to turn out well for you or your readers. But this was approached very well in In Liam's Wake; you can piece together the important bits within the first 20% of the book (how much do I love that Kindle keeps track of that for me?) and the rest clicks into place as you get to it. It's something I don't have a lot of skill with, and I admire it.

Along the same vein, naming stuff can be hard, especially in this genre. I appreciate the use of simple terms like "the Colony" and "the Assembly" because that's how people naturally label things in real life. And then when something needs a new word, it is cleverly done. "Elete"? Perfect. We understand that it is synonymous with "elite" but it's new and different and better.

Like Cassy, I thought the sexplosion in the middle was a little out-of-nowhere, but I've seen more egregious examples of that.

All in all, I really liked this one. Everything fit together the way a good story should, and... seriously, just read it to see the pacing, if nothing else. It's really great.


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  2. Thanks guys, I appreciate the review. It was not a nano project. My upcoming one "The Stuff of Dreams" is more along the lines of a nano project. I know that the GFU theme doesn't always work with everyone. You've given me a lot to think about.

    Thanks again for reviewing me. I sincerely appreciate it.

    - Ash