Book Rant: Blood and Iron, by Elizabeth Bear

This gets a rant for two main reasons. First, it felt like it couldn’t decide what class it wanted to be in. It’s a faerie novel, it’s a werewolf tale, it’s an urban fantasy, it’s an epic fantasy. It’s a mess of often sloppy mythology, and the pacing couldn’t have gotten more irregular if it were written as a round between a zombie, the Flash, and a toddler.

When it FINALLY seemed to be getting its act together, it proceeds to end in the middle of a scene. In theory, this would make the reader want to pick up the second book asap. In reality? That sort of trick makes me howl. I don’t mind if an author puts in a lead into the next novel, as long as they also wrap up the current book. But instead, nothing was resolved, and I wondered if my copy was missing pages or something, except nope, there it goes with the “You’ve finished this book, but before you go…” message. Just in case, I checked it the next time I was in the book store, and it ends in the same place in their copy too.

From a writer’s perspective:

This book shows the importance of having a clear, concise idea of what you want your world to be like. If you can’t explain your world in 50 words or less, then you’re doing it wrong. The worlds need to have a clear sense of place. To use The Near Witch as a good example in contrast, you get an idea of how Near looks, smells, feels, and it’s distinct. Same thing happens with Scorpio Races. Thisby is as much a character as Puck or Sean. Unlike in Blood and Iron, where NYC, somewhere in scotland, and the land of Faerie are all interchangeable. Ground your stories in a place, weave it into your story, and it strengthens the story immeasurably. Sensory details especially are critical in this. (Tomorrow’s post has some exercises, actually, on this subject. Check it out then!)

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1 Comment

  1. thebnc said,

    July 27, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    GAH! I hate poorly done cliffhangers. >< No, you don't make me want to read the rest of your series, you just make me want to punt the book against the wall.

    Also, this:

    "The pacing couldn’t have gotten more irregular if it were written as a round between a zombie, the Flash, and a toddler."

    It's gold, Jerry! Gold! 😉


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