Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Obsidian Blade Review

The Obsidian Blade - Pete Hautman


This book was thoroughly underwhelming. I’ve already mentioned that I approach YA fiction with a certain level of hesitancy because a lot of the time I’ll start one that has an interesting plot, but then it just disappoints me in the end due to either poor plotting or inadequate prose. Unfortunately, this book was no exception.

I think I originally read about the upcoming sequel to this book and that seemed interesting, but of course I have to read the series in order, so I picked up the first book. 

Basically, Tucker’s dad disappears one day, and then reappears a few hours later wearing strange clothes and with a strange space-girl with a poor grasp of the English language named Leeloo Lahlia. Weird things start happening, such as his father, the town preacher, declaring he no long believes in God, his mother going steadily crazy and dysfunctional with a mounting obsession with Sudoku, and weird shimmery disks and ghosts appearing around roofs, until finally his parents flat out vanish. He then proceeds into a time-warping adventure chased by homicidal future-priests.

I suppose this book isn't necessarily bad, so much as simply not engaging. Certainly Hautman has his world building down, and while there were still a lot of open questions at the end, as I mentioned, this was just the opener to a series (an inevitability, it seems, to YA books these days), so presumably, there will be answers to come. But as the story progressed, I was enjoying it less and less and reading it became almost a chore and I only finished because I'd already invested so much time into it.

The beginning moves slow, I mean, you're practically halfway through the book before it really gets going. But that's almost okay, because the whole time it's building up, you keep reading because you're just waiting for something to happen. The problem is, the prose is very sparse. It's a lot of "He did this. Then this. Then he did that. And that." Which didn't draw me in and didn't make for very interesting reading, regardless of the action going on. Plus, Tucker was rather bland--really just standing in as a blank slate asking questions for the readers, and Lahlia, who was a bit more interesting, remained a vague and mysterious figure throughout, so I didn't really end up caring about any of the characters enough to be invested in the story.

Although the sequel is what initially attracted me to the series, I won't be continuing on. 2/5 Fancies. 

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