Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: The Rifter Part 7: Enemies and Shadows by Ginn Hale

Like the previous part in this serialised novel, part 7 has a quiet, reflective feel about it at first. Much of the action happens towards the end and before that the story deals with the tricky politics surrounding the possible imminent war between Jath’ibaye and the Gaun'im of Southern Basawar. Much of the plot is taken up with discussion and intrigue, and whilst this meant that the action was slow, I was still immersed in the story because there's a constant tension. This tension gave the tone of writing an uneasy feel as Kahlil and Jath’ibaye strive to find a way to avert war or face the possibility of mass slaughter.

One of the beauties of this book is the way that dialogue is used to further the plot and that is certainly the case in this section which is taken mostly from Kahlil's point of view. He's a good observer of people, having spent most of his life observing John grow up, and this seeps into the way he views people and body language. Sometimes this is slightly humourous - for example as he watches Hirran use her feminine charms on the one of the Gaun'im noblemen - and sometimes it's deadly as he waits for the right moment to kill. We find out a lot about Kahlil in this section, especially about what he has been forced to do in his role as The Kahlil. This leads to comparisons with Ravishan, especially when we see Ravishan's innocence about the world when compared to Kahlil's world-weariness.

Towards the end of the section, in a scene which is both terrifying and compelling, the action is ramped up to maximum. This 'heart in your throat' moment shows us the versatility of Ginn Hale as an author in directing the pace, in this case from quiet intrigue to all out action and horror. About 20 pages before the end the action ends on a chilling note leaving the reader with a cliff hanger when we are suddenly thrown back in time to be with John and Ravishan. I have to admit I let out a wail of protest at this point and felt severely disgruntled! It wasn't long before I adjusted to John's point of view though, and if I have to be honest, I like John's point of view more than Kahlil's so once I got over the shock I settled into the narrative of John and Ravishan's escape from John's attempted murder on the Holy Road. It was interesting to see the contrast here between the earnest love of Ravishan for John when compared the the more mature feelings that Kahlil and Jath’ibaye have for each other. Both are passionate but the naivety of Ravishan seems almost painful next to Kahlil now that we've spent the last 200 or so pages in his head.

In the final 20 pages the pace again shifts to quiet moments between John and Ravishan which leaves the section on an emotional, rather than action based high. As a reader, I already know much of what is going to happen between them now because we have been told of Ravishan and John's future during the parts from Kahlil's point of view, and I wonder how much more of John's point of view can be sustained without repeating what we already know. However, I've trusted this author so far to deliver a tightly plotted story and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. With only 3 more parts to go, things surely must start to move towards what promises to be an exciting dénouement and I'm very much looking forward to the events in part 8.

You can either buy this seventh part - and then any of the other 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.

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