Monday, March 26, 2012

Offspring-Scott Appleton

Offspring is the second book in The Sword of the Dragon series.  You can view my review of the first book, Swords of the Six,

"With Ilfedo's beloved wife buried, the Hemmed Land is destined to change, as is he.

The sea serpents have again invaded the land, and Ilfedo must discover the power behind the sword of the dragon, even as he accepts his people's call to become their Lord Warrior.  His daughter grows into a beautiful young woman whose wisdom and love endears her to the people, and sets her on a journey to find a race of unique and powerful creatures.

But far to the north an evil long ago stirred, and Letrias's workings soon threaten everything Ilfedo holds dear."
From back cover

Scott Appleton has improved in his craft.  Whereas Swords of the Six left me with a bad impression on the technicalities of some of his writing-much simply seeming unpolished-Offspring shows remarkable improvement.  While there is still room for improvement, it is leaps and bounds above his last entry.

Offspring maintains a spot-on P.O.V., some of the best descriptive voice I've seen-or, read-and and characterization is fantastic, if leaving something to be desired with some characters.
It wasn't my biggest qualm with the book, but rather one that can be easily solved.  That is italics.  I brought the same issue up in my review of Swords of the Six.  The author uses them as a crutch.  If he needs to get emphasis across he simply uses italics, whereas that should not be the case.  It takes you out of the book, entirely.  He uses them in dialogue, as well as narration and description, and I really feel that emphasis could be given in another way-through exposition.
The storyworld in The Sword of the Dragon seems confusing at times.  Appleton hints at a deep history, which at certain points is wondrous, but at others it's too vague of a hinting.  This may just be me, but it seemed like the hints he gives to the backstory of something are just a little vague and un-clarified.  Some things also seem to contradict the history and actions presented in the first book, but that may be me misunderstanding it.
I love the characterization of Oganna, Ilfedo's daughter.  She is characterized to perfection, and being that she is the protagonist of the book, it works to great favor of the book.  Ilfedo is very well characterized, as well.  However, there are only a couple of the five Warrioresses that are given any kind of characterization in addition to several supporting characters whose importance is played up, but then not really given any screen time, per se.  Overall, great characterization with the one's Appleton worked towards characterizing, but the one's he left out didn't receive much of any characterization which left something to be desired with the characters.
Besides these problems, the book stands out as a great example of a series that plays up to the strengths that  the genre of Epic Fantasy has to offer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I cannot wait for The Key of the Living Fire which releases April 11th.

4.5 Stars


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