My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Review: Obsidian

Obsidian Obsidian by Sarah J. Daley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The best part of this story was the world building concept; however, even with a somewhat novel take on an apocalyptic world and magic system, it still falls short.

The basic premise is a dystopian aftermath from a war that destroyed the world in a magic conflict, and where people now live in protected conclaves under magic shields known as veils. The original combatants have presumably disappeared, leaving only the humans struggling to survive, ruled by a corrupt brotherhood of ‘bloodwizards’ (aka the Church) and capomagj (aka the mafia). There are noble families that have some power, but it is not clear how they have it (other than being first) and most importantly, how they keep it. Finally, there is an Imperial overlord who basically just serves as background for one of the main characters (a quasi-disowned imperial son).

Magic is based upon blood from slashing wounds with gem (ruby, safire, et. al.) based knives that apparently determine the strength of the wizard … thus the title obsidian being significant because of the type of knife used by the main character, Shade Nox (Night Night). Also apparently, magic tattoos heal the wounds so they can cut themselves again and again (sort of like a magic perpetual motion machine) … yeah … so maybe the magic system is not quite so well developed as some.

All of that still makes for a mildly entertaining story and would have scored better if I had actually liked any of the characters … who tended to always be dialed up to 11 for everything, which was super annoying. Frankly the interactions between the characters was so full of bravado, arrogance and generally all around I'm offended that it is amazing that every encounter didn’t end up in a deadly brawl ( I think I am offended that it didn't ) … it was so exhausting dealing with so much adolescent angst from what should have been more matured adults.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Obsidian #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.