June 2024
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The Bristling Wood, Katharine Kerr

This is the third book in the Deverry series, which I believe has 11 or 12 books now. In short, not precisely a series to get involved with if you aren’t prepared for the long haul. As a big fan of Robert Jordan etc., it never bothers me when a series is long. It does bother me when the series seems to deteriorate in quality, because at that point I’m invested in the story and feel a need for completion, but don’t feel a desire to read the book.

Rhodry and Jill, my favorite characters, spend most of the book apart. Perryn drives me mad, and overall the story progresses but in a frustrating, bleak way. Nothing is going in a positive direction. There are no light moments, nothing to break the tension, something I’m getting increasingly tired of. There should be a balance to prevent a book from being too depressing, if you ask me, particularly if it’s fantasy, a genre (imo) not meant to be thoroughly depressing. Even the time interlude, a constant staple of the last two books, drifted off without any conclusion. The entire book was nothing but a relentless narrative with no cheer; everyone is always leaving everyone else, being frustrated, and going off to war.

To be honest, I’ve liked other negative books, but usually they’ll have some other quality to recommend them, such as excellent writing or compelling characters. I believed this series had potential in the first book, which I unexpectedly loved. The second was not as good, but still okay. This one was not. The writing was conventional and bland and the characters used the same absurd curses every few pages. The story has some potential, I have to say. It is interesting, but it’s mired down in bad writing and poor plotting. It is as though Katharine Kerr’s editor really went through the first book and made it excellent, and by now has simply given up and let her continue without any assistance.

At this point I’m not sure it’s worth it to continue with the series. I don’t like the cliffhanger, but I also don’t want to read 400 more pages of poor writing, plus however many volumes are left in the entire series.


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