Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kristine thinks out loud about The Court of the Air

I'm not going to write a long post about The Court of the Air. I read the kindle edition and it was riddled with spelling errors (wor ds we re n ot who le) and the text would jump from one perspective/person/scene to another WITH NO WARNING! This was not a stream-of-consciousness novel, so I'm guessing it should not have done that. More air please! Someone should rectify this, but I'm guessing nobody will.

Now, I'm going to rattle of some points in a few lists and try not to spoil too much, but I am going to do this anyway: SPOLER ALERT! There might be bits and bobs revealed, I do not feel that any of the information below will spoil the storyline, but the world that is built in the novel will be poked and prodded at a bit. Time for lists:

The good:
  • I'm fascinated by the steam creatures (steammen) that have a life of their own, that become deactivate when their life ends. I'd like to learn more about them, they are workers, warriors and a race of their own, and I love the "ending" created for them (I say "ending" because this book is the first in a series). They also call the humans softbodies, which I found so charming that I'd like to befriend one (even if some of them found the softbodies weak etc.)
  • Epic world!
  • Mu-bodies! 
  • I also liked the Carlists, the royalists, the circlist etc. The politics and religion aspect, though it was tedious at times, it was nice to have, and easy to draw parallels with our world, which is cool.
  • The court of the air = cool, but (oh uh, we're heading into the bad prematurely) they weren't important enough to have the title of the novel I think. 
The bad:
  • Maps! I wish there were maps! 
  • Glossary, I really wish there was one. Stephen Hunt made up words and things and I'd like a decent explanation, and sometimes he used words in other context than those I've seen them in before, and while the kindle comes with a dictionary and I am able to undestand things through context, I'd still like a dictionary, with explanations not just of words, but of what exactly a Carlist is etc., and maybe even who some of the characters are because there are so many and we only see parts of this world (which I would love to explore more I just don't know if I can get throguh another of these novels).
  • The first half (or thereabout, I made a note at 41%) was too long, to boring, I struggled with it when I was in my last third I enjoyed myself for the first time. I bet a bunch of readers put this down before that!
  • Molly and Oliver were too alike, I realize that they came from different backgrounds and had different abilities, but they were both alone without family (sort of), had an ability (they were the chosen ones in this context, which is fine and I get the whole offence/defence, yin/yang thing), but do they need to be without personalities? Molly likes stories, Oliver likes what? I don't think he has a peronality and most of his skills come from his weapons. Fey is not a personality. I suspect the lack of personality might have a function here (he's easily pushed around), but I still would like some of that for him.
  •  The throwing of gears, gear-gi-oh or something like that, felt a little like "put a cog on it and call it steampunk". I accepted it and moved on though.
  • Too much shoved into a novel. This could be trilogy on its own! Too much information, too few pages, yet too many pages. There is a problem here. Strangely enough I feel as if a lot of this could have been solved by adding illustrations.

More depth to the characters, a map and a glossary and I would have loved this novel. Somehow I also think it would have been better longer, if chopped up into several shorter novels, or parts at least. The flow was wrong.

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