Well, I liked it! It wasn’t a perfect novel, but I particularly enjoyed getting to know the arch-villains and the point of view of Croaker was a pretty cerebral analysis of What Makes a Bad Guy a Bad Guy. I always enjoy those musings.
Finding out what kind of person Soulcatcher was, as a demigod and all-around-evil-person, was actually quite enlivening. His (her) conflict with the other Taken was fun to watch unfold – there’s nothing better than watching bad guys lay waste to each other. While Croaker himself didn’t get much development, he sure got a lot of screentime. The entire novel is from his POV and I grew to love him.
His conversations with Soulcatcher when they are laying in ambush for whoever can bring them their opponent’s head (their opponent was the good guy - a great twist) are SO GOOD. I loved Soulcatcher admitting that he (she) gets lonely, and that The Lady was beautiful, terrible, and Not To Be Messed With.
The subsequent scene where The Lady Takes Whisper is terrifying. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole thing.
The only gripe I have is the somewhat cursory writing provided for what could have been some pretty epic battle scenes. There were plenty of times where Croaker goes: “We took this massive fort and there was a huge battle” and then he goes on to spend like 20 pages describing a game of cards. Like, could you not have paid that same level of detail to the massive battle you just casually mentioned?!? But I think this writing style was deliberate – it gives weight to the moments of conflict that succeed it.
Also, I felt very frustrated at the lack of a clearly defined magical system. After decades spent in Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and fire, The Dresden Files, and numerous other fantasy tomes, I expect a clearly defined magical system. This book does not have one. I was mad.
Why/How does the White Rose get her powers?
HOW THE HELL DOES THE MAGIC WORK?
Who were the other Companies?