Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review: The Rifter Part 3: Black Blades by Ginn Hale

*Warning: It will be impossible for me to discuss this third part of The Rifter without giving away spoilers for parts 1 & 2!*

I've decided that it's quite an odd experience to review a serialised novel, especially this third part.  This is mainly because the book has reached a point where many of the major players have been introduced, the scene has been set and the pieces are slowly moving around the board.  In many ways this third part is very similar to part two in its structure.  The first half of the book follows directly on from part two and concerns Kyle/Kahlil and is set in the future Basawar after the Rifter has destroyed the North.  At the end of part two, Kahlil discovered an assassination plot against a warlord from the North, Jath’ibaye and this third part begins as Kahlil attempts to thwart this assassination. During this time Jath’ibaye and Kahlil meet, an event which has consequences for Kahlil. It was this part which was full of action and suspense as Kahlil travels the city looking for ways to help Jath’ibaye.

The second half of this serial moves twenty nine years into the past and deal with John as he describes the daily life of the monastery at Rathal’pesha where he's been living for about a year now. This section is used to feed the reader a set of information about the priests, the trainees and also some of the history of Basawar, including the religious figure of Parfir and the origins of the Rifter. As such, this meant that this part was slower moving and more focused on dialogue and character interaction that the section with Kahlil. It is heavy with information which will be useful to us as the book progresses, so whilst my attention drifted a little, I was aware of the importance of some of the facts given to us. That didn't mean that this section contains no action altogether, but just that the tension is provided by conflict amongst the priests and John's own worries over his future and that of his friends, rather than the more aggressive and nervous suspense in the section with Kahlil.

One thing I am enjoying with this book is seeing the links between the two separate times. One example of this is when Kahlil is thinking of one of the rumours that he hears about Jath’ibaye's eating habits and the fact that he likes strongly flavoured food usually eaten by peasants, rather than the more refined food of the Basawar nobility. Then in the next section we find out exactly why that is. Every time I come across these links it makes me smile, especially as they often seem to be just the odd whimsical fact, not important to the overall story but there as a flavour to the characterisation. It's little touches like these that remind me how good the writing is, and how complex the two worlds are.

Any niggles I have with the story stem from it being a month since I read the second part. The author has created an elaborate hierarchy of the both the nobility of Basawar and the priests at Rathal’pesha, and I found myself a little lost at times about who ranked higher than who and how people were related to each other. There is a glossary attached to the end of the part which explains it all, but it's difficult to swap back and forth like that with an ebook.

Overall, this third part continues to build and expand slowly on what has come before. Each strand of the story is slowly knitting together before moving off in another direction, only to form with another strand. I'm enjoying experiencing this masterful interweaving, and the monthly gaps between parts only highlights the efficiency of the world building in all its complexities. Bring on part four - I can't wait!

You can either buy this third part - and then any subsequent parts - separately for $3.99 each, or buy the whole book at $29.95 and each month the new part will be sent to you via email. More information about this and the buy now page can be found HERE.


Tracy said...

Great review, once again. Why have I not bought this yet? I need to SOON! :)

Jenre said...

You do, Tracy! :)

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