In reading Erin Evans contribution to the The Sundering series, her book The Adversary turned out to be a mixed bag. Evans does a masterful job of sharing setting and action with the reader through her use of imagery and choice of diction. Her character development however is a long and painful process that detracts from the plot as a whole.
In the opening of the book, as well as at several points throughout the book, Evans does a superb job of using all five senses to create a tableaux vivant for the reader. This quality allows the readers to feel as if they are actually experiencing what is being described. This is a wonderful and rare trait that only a few fantasy authors have mastered. Additionally, Evans has a well-developed vocabulary which she also uses to good effect. In several places, it is obvious that she chooses to use the best word rather than a simpler, less descriptive word that would be more easily understood by the reader. Both of these qualities drew me in early on and provided excellent moments of respite throughout the novel.
The great detractor in this book was the far too overly developed scenes where the characters’ relationships are introduced and explored. Now some of this may have to do with the fact that Evens is the only female writer in The Sundering series. Her style may too sharply contrast the other masculine writers. Along that same line of thinking, it may be that she is following in the footsteps of to highly accomplished authors. More likely, it is my dislike for the penchant of female fantasy authors to wax romantic rather than adventurous in this genre of writing. There are exceptions of course, but this seems to be an unfortunately common trait.
When I find myself skipping ahead pages to get past the deluge of motivations, feeling, and interpretations of each character examined in a myriad of minute details, there is a serious problem. If, as a reader, you are looking for wondrously good description wrapped around intricate character development through interaction and relationship this is likely the book for you. If you are more into a plot that steadily moves forward in a non-brooding fashion that can interconnect earlier elements of the series, you may wish to look elsewhere.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
The book for this review was provided free of charge by Wizards of the Coast through NetGalley.com. This book was provided without the expectation or requirement of a positive response. Thank you to both the publisher and NetGalley.com for the opportunity to both read your advanced copy and to provide this unpaid evaluation. All opinions in this review reflect the views of the author and not NetGalley.com or the publisher.