Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review - Magic Under Stone

Magic Under Stone (Magic Under #2)
by Jaclyn Dolamore
Date: 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 291
Format: e-book
Source: library

For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordoria Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it’s not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands—and begins to study the sorcerer’s spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger—if not out-and-out war—as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book was so bad, I almost feel like laughing.  You have to have a sense of humour after spending hours reading something so disappointing.

I was somewhat entertained by the first book, Magic Under Glass.  But when I started in on the sequel, it quickly became apparent that it didn't have nearly as much polish or attention paid to it as its predecessor.  There were so many clunky bits of writing and so many little out-of-place details that had me scratching my head.

I mentioned in my review of Magic Under Glass that I thought perhaps the two books should have been joined as one volume.  I stand by that assessment for the most part, simply because there's not much meat to the plot.  And yet, it would have been weird to put the two books together because the format of the second book is not the same as the first.  Nimira is still a first-person narrator, but her sections are interspersed with third-person narratives that tell the story of the jinn, Ifra, and his dealings with the fairy royal family.  As a result, it didn't really feel like Nimira's story anymore.

The characters in this book seemed much less well developed than in the previous book.  Most of the female characters act like silly, vapid clotheshorses at one point or another, and too many minor characters were brought into the mix.  Ordorio Valdana was a particular disappointment, as, when he finally did appear, he only did so for a few pages before being of very little help anyway.  The villains were numerous, and some were also annoying infodumpers; they gave out too much information about their plans (presumably for the benefit of the reader), which made them seem unrealistic.

This book also really dragged, and the plot seemed like a really roundabout way of getting from Point A to Point B.  The side plotline with the jinn's point of view was necessary because, without it, there would not have been enough here to make a whole book.  And while I thought Ifra himself was an interesting character, I found most of the action around him to be contrived and boring.

My biggest annoyance with this book is that, while the main plotline was tied up and resolved, it wasn't done so satisfactorily for one big reason: the author forgot that she had two main villains, not just one.  There was no mention of what happened to the other bad guy, so presumably he's still out there, waiting to cause trouble.  The problem with that is that there's not enough unresolved conflict for a third book... and so this one just comes off as incomplete by mistake.  Oops.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Editing: 3/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.14 out of 5

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