As with many fields of artistic endeavour, sometimes an author will improve over time, and with others their debut novel completely dazzles and then their subsequent works never live up to that first blazing success.
Such is proving to be the case with Rachel Hartman, whose first novel, Seraphina — a YA novel featuring some very unusual dragons — was among my very favourite releases from 2012, but the sequel to which, Shadow Scale, failed to truly live up to its promise, and now this third romp in the same universe, but centred on Seraphina’s horrid half-sister Tess, is just a yawn and a snooze and an all-around disaster.
I should have stopped reading after the opening chapters. I definitely should have stopped reading after they way Tess drunkenly devastated her sister’s marital prospects. And I cannot believe I kept reading after she set off on a road trip in familiar Fantasy trope .
I guess I wanted to give Hartman a chance. After all, it was certainly interesting, the way she gave us an utterly unlikable heroine with such a dark past, and how the larger narrative explored women-as-currency, as well as giving us a very different perspective on the heroine of the earlier books. But these highlights did nothing to mitigate against the many, many lows of a boring journey across a boring world, only slightly enlivened by the arrival of her old friend Pathka, who brings with him some more of the unusual dragon lore in which this world is steeped.
Such a disappointment. I doubt I will ever pick up another book by this author again. I really hate to see such early potential vanish under the weight of ineptitude — both authorial and editorial.
Bye, Tess. And good riddance.
TBR DAY 91: Tess of the Road (Tess #1)by Rachel Hartman
GENRE: YA Fantasy
TIME ON THE TBR: ~1 year.
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.