Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Review: The Scorpions Strike by C. L. Talmadge

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book reviews.

The third book in an apparently long high fantasy series, The Scorpions Strike leaves little time for unfamiliar readers to catch up and instead heads directly into the conflict--in this case a trial. I hadn't read the previous books in the series yet but eventually, I managed to figure which are the good guys and which are the bad guys. And when in doubt, Talmadge follows the formula of other novels by including an appendix at the end of the book (for the record, I never had to use it).

The good points of the book is that the language is easy to understand and has a quick pace. She also has a handle on her female protagonists which are usually tragically flawed but not to the point that they are broken. The not-so-good points is that this feels formulaic and doesn't really stray too far from other mass market fantasy titles out there (to be more specific, mass market fantasy titles that are at least two decades old). Of course if you do happen to be readers who are looking for more of the same, this is the book for you as Talmadge writes two-dimensional villains you love to hate and plots that perpetually keeps her characters in dire circumstances. One pet peeve of mine with the book is that for a quasi-medieval society, their medical technology seems almost up to part with modern standards (blood tests anyone?). Perhaps this phenomena is convincingly explained in the earlier books but otherwise...

Overall, this is typical fantasy fare albeit with a focus on healing and conspiracy rather than warfare (although there are some of those in this book). Nothing too great but nothing that stands out as downright horrible either although don't expect too much from either the plot or the narrative style. New readers will only run into a few problems jumping midway into the series although I recommend starting with the first book.

Rating: 2/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, now I know I can skip this one. There is a lot of pressure on authors these days to get a sequel out if their first book was successful, and often it leads to formulaic writing.