Monday, 12 August 2013

Giles Kristian on Goodreads

Currently the historical fiction writer Giles Kristian is discussing his debut novel Blood Eye with readers in the group Ancient and Medieval Historical Fiction at Goodreads. I have participated in the discourse, read his book, and written a review. If you're on Goodreads, feel free to add me as your friend. See you there!

Blood Eye (Raven #1)Blood Eye by Giles Kristian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high expectations, but the book was a bit disappointing. Not that Kristian doesn't write well and he certainly displays a wide knowledge of Saxons, Vikings, and Norse mythology; somehow I felt at home in his world. It was the way the story is told that disappointed me.

In the book one event follows the other - first this happens and then this - in a uni-linear and repetitive pattern. In each second chapter or so the author seems forced to put in a big fight or a battle; after some time it becomes rather predictable. (Luckily the fights are well told). The only time there is real suspense is when the Wolfpack is split or divided and I start wondering what has happened to Sigurd the Lucky and his lot. Then surprisingly they turn up and help Raven out of a critical situation. That's well done. But the author immediately repeats the trick and tries to fool or surprise me once more. That is not well done. As part of the repetitive pattern, dead (or believed dead) people turn out to be alive a little bit too often in the story.

In Blood Eye the characters are also shallow and one-dimensional and I often find their actions unmotivated. All their talk about Loki, Odin, and Thor is often embellishment rather then real motivations for their actions.

Quite improbably, Osric or Raven develops from a Christian carpenter apprentice to a full blown heathen Viking warrior in just a few weeks, but I nevertheless want to know what happens to him. The reason I give the book four rather than tree or two stars is that the author has succeeded in planting an interest in the main character in me and thus kindled a desire to know his destiny. Rumours (in the Goodreads discussions) also have it that the following books in the series are better. Blood Eye is Kristian's debut novel after all. His writing is strong and enthusiastic and in the hope that character descriptions and his narrative technique will improve, I will probably read more of the books in the Raven series.

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