It’s been almost exactly a year since I wrote a review extolling the virtues of Rachel Dunne‘s debut novel In The Shadow Of The Gods. I heaped praise upon it for the beautiful setting and extensive world building that she had created. It is therefore safe to assume that I was not at all hesitant to dive into the sequel so as to write a review prior to the release. Unfortunately, my expectations were set too high it seems. The Bones Of The Earth was not at all what I expected.
Read on to find out more.
For starters, let me mention that it has been a full year since I read the first book in the Bound Gods series. It is therefore not too far fetched to believe that others who read this did so during that same time period, or at the very least it might have been longer than a few days ago. Understanding this, I was quite shocked that the story picked up shortly after the finale of the previous novel, but failed to give the reader any lead in. By this I mean I was stuck, chapter after chapter, trying to remember who was who and what was what. Names and locations flew like bullets in a fire fight, but it was fully a hundred pages before I felt like I was up to speed again. Maybe if I didn’t read half a dozen books a week, then I would not have struggled as much to remember all the details, but the fact is I do and I did.
Add to that the grammatical assaults by the author upon the reader, and it be came a challenge at times to finish the book. I am no stranger to contracted words, so far be it from me to damn someone for using them but there are instances where I find it reprehensible. For example: “witch’d” and “Aro’d” should have been caught by an editor at some point. Writing in the vernacular to portray a certain dialect or speech pattern is one thing, but in a basic descriptive paragraph it felt painful to read. It is informal and slipshod composition, in my opinion.
The story itself continues to be one I appreciate and enjoy exploring. The characters have still retained their sense of selves and I found myself reconnecting to the ones I liked from the first book. The multiple storylines that once intersected have again gone their separate ways, weaving a web of intrigue and mystery. However, as before, it sometimes becomes too intricate and causes the reader to lose interest as it deviates from the plot. But, saving graces being what they are, it successfully brought me back into the story at the last minute.
As the followers of the Twins seek the means to resurrect them, the opposing forces of the Parents marshal their forces to stop them. Tales eternally old have been passed down that damn the Twins for the unspeakable evils they have wrought in times past. But are these stories true or is this a case of history being written by the victors? Generations of priests have slain newborn twins for fear of a second coming and potentially the end of life as they know it. But as two of our characters are themselves twins, was this always the safest course? Or has it portrayed the parents in a hateful and dangerous light?
Realizing that they will never be able to stop the Twins from being brought back if they stay on the present course, our ragged band of misfits decides to try a frontal assault instead of a treasure hunt. It’s a daring move that seems less likely to succeed since they seem to have lost their most dangerous warrior. However, with the world hanging in the balance, they journey on. And on. And on. Interestingly enough, they go to face a group of people that have recently been diminished from within. This, regrettably, does not seem to have made them weaker; rather, it may have had the opposite effect.
I didn’t hate the book, folks. I just fell out of love with the series. Maybe I placed the bar too high. Maybe this book trudged its way down the path and I was looking for more excitement. Hopefully, the next one will revive all of the features that made me adore the previous book. It would be remiss of me if I did not at least attempt to read one more, just to be sure. I’ll leave it in your hands as to whether or not you want to invest your time and money in this book. But, whatever you do, if you have yet to read the first one, then make sure you do that first or you will not have a clue what is happening. On that I can stand my ground.
To win the coming battle for control of the world and the mortals who dwell in it, the cunning priest Joros secretly assembled a team of powerful fighters””Scal, a lost and damaged swordsman from the North; Vatri, a scarred priestess who claims to see the future in her fires; Anddyr, a drug-addled mage wandering between sanity and madness; and Rora and Aro, a pair of twins who have secretly survived beyond the reach of the law.
But the war is only beginning for these disparate warriors and victory is far from certain when the enemy is a pair of vengeful gods. As the bound Twins strengthen in force against their parents””the Divine Mother and Almighty Father””who exiled them, a shadow begins to spread across the land, threatening to engulf all in its wake.
As deadly magic takes hold, the tenuous bonds tying these uneasy allies begins to unravel. If they cannot find a way to keep their band together, each of their lives””and the entire world””will be lost to the darkness, leaving nothing but the bones of the earth. . . .