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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review of Steadfast by Mercedes Lackey

And, once again, Goodreads and Blogger refuse to get along. Sorry it's late.

I am torn between one and two stars. One because this book was, quite honestly, terrible, and two because I have this nagging feeling that it wasn't really so bad and it's just my prejudice against Mercedes Lackey's non-fantasy world books. I can't help missing Kellen and the fairy-tale people whenever I read them. It's just not what I've come to expect from her, but that's not really her fault. I just read her books in the wrong order.
So, it's going to be two, but it's a rounded two. The writing showed a general lack of polish (just how many things can one person do stoically in a paragraph? I mean, Jack is stoic and all, but really...), and of editing , with repeated words and dialogue especially being very strange at times. There was also repetition, so for those of you hoping that was just a lack of communication with James Mallory... nope. Katie has to tell everyone everything, they have to discuss it, we get a narrative recap, and then they tell it back to Katie just in case we missed something. This makes the book far too long for its plot, which I should probably discuss at this point.
Now, I will freely admit that this is eighth book in a series, and I have read one of them. And it's this one. So keep this in mind as I liberally insult her world-building and magic skills, and also note that there are things I'm assuming she explains in earlier books that I'm not going to mention here, but the truth is that I have no idea what is or isn't in earlier books.
Anyway, plot. I'm still slightly confused as to this one. It was about this person named Katie, who runs away from an abusive husband and the circus to a bigger hall in a city, where people like to extrapolate on her lack of dancing ability while giving her bigger and bigger parts because they can "twist luck" with their magical powers (I'll explain in a minute). Everything just falls into Katie's lap, and she becomes Lionel's assistant. She likes to scream I'M IN LOVE WITH JACK very loudly every five seconds, with only a token effort to explain why they're suddenly deeply in love. It could be worse, but... insta-love. Ugh. Lionel gives a whole speech about how magicians are like that, and maybe I'm just not accepting that as well as I should, but it annoyed me. At least Lionel didn't fall in love (although to be honest, I still kind of suspect something between him and Jack).
Speaking of Lionel, I have the feeling he's a recurring character because we got pretty much no backstory, but I honestly have no idea. He was sort of cool. Katie was sort of pathetic but I didn't actually mind her. Jack really annoyed me with his guilt complex (I have the feeling Mercedes Lackey sat down and decided he needed to be crippled, then decided he needed to be injured in war, then decided that she couldn't bear him killing anyone so put him on guard-duty, but then needed atrocities, so had him slip and break his ankle on guard duty so that he misses having to do the atrocities and can have his leg cut off when it goes septic). Yes, it's tragic... but he didn't DO ANY OF IT. He was off guarding railroads and having his leg cut off. HE is not guilty.
The magic there is simply no excuse for. I still don't get what they can or can't do, whether they actually have magic, what's up with the Elementals, and why the salamanders haven't set Lionel's wicker chairs on fire yet when they keep vanishing and leaving clouds of sparks behind. I can't even really poke holes in it, because there isn't enough there to poke holes into. I miss you, Wild Magic. High Magic worked too. And the fairy magic with the thing I want to call the Pattern after too much time reading Robert Jordan. This does not. At all.
On second thought, it really should be a one star book. But I still have this lingering feeling that it wasn't so bad after all, and I just don't appreciate romance novels (despite appearances, this is just a reallly pathetic attempt at a romance novel... kind of like anything else to come out in the last ten years). So, two it will be. And this review has gotten way too long, so I will end it here.
Thanks for reading.


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