March 23, 2018

Review: Skullsworn

Skullsworn Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had a heckuva time finishing this book, and make no mistake, I did so mostly out of sheer stubbornness, not because the book itself proved to be especially good. I read some of it, set it aside to read other things, picked it up and set it down again. More than once I thought about invoking the Eight Deadly Words. The last time I picked it up, the plot started moving briskly enough that I was able to finish, although I highly doubt I'll read anything by this author ever again.

The overriding problem of this story is the main character, and for a book written in the first person, this is a fatal flaw. Pyrre's voice simply does not carry the day--she's a pessimistic, grimdark sociopath with no sense of humor whatsoever, and for a book built around the premise of an acolyte attempting to become a priestess of her death-god by killing seven people in fourteen days (including one she has fallen in love with), I would think some humor, even black humor, would be mandatory. Instead, Pyrre slogs along stirring up trouble in the city of her birth, and schemes and manipulates in an attempt to ensnare the former lover she has chosen to love and kill. This evil, tiresome dance is stretched beyond the breaking point, to where I wanted to toss her a knife and say, "FOR GOD'S SAKE, JUST PRETEND YOU LOVE HIM AND CUT HIS THROAT ALREADY!!" (Of course, we would have a much shorter story if that happened, which might not be a bad thing.) There's some page-occupying subplots (I say that because they weren't very interesting in and of themselves) about the city and the inhabitants rising up to throw off a conquering empire, and some immortal denizens of the delta, where this story is set, engaging our so-called heroes in the climactic final battle, and blah blah blah, and in the end I really didn't give a crap about any of it. I think this book is strictly for those who are already fans of the series, which is most decidedly Not Me.

Bah. I think this might be another book that deserves a better life at the library, rather than on my shelf.

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