This is the first in a series of books about the kingdom of Marlovan and its’ inhabitants. It is ostensibly a book for young adults though in my local library it was not shelved as such. Despite a synopsis of the book that indicates this coming of age tale has political intrigue, adventure and pirates (why I picked it up in the first place – I was craving a story with pirates), it took me forever to read; 2-3 months. This is much longer than it should have – and I set about thinking why with all these elements I should have liked, was it not a more compulsive read for me? My top five reasons are:
1) I am more of a character/plot girl and less enamored with elaborate world-building and books that are all about mood. A major portion of Inda is establishing the country of Marlovan and its militaristic society. It got boring and was a little confusing (the naming of folks with titles and nicknames and proper names took a while to sort out) and the way the story is told drew out the world-building process. In this case I would have preferred a little more tell and a little less show.
2) Too many characters and or viewpoints. First, there are so many characters that it is really hard to get to know and like any of them. It is not helped by the fact that the author moves the viewpoint around from character to character within scenes often on the same page – It never stays in one place for long. You have main characters with the semblance of a story arc centered on them but instead of sticking with the central character, the story gets told sporadically by the main character, secondary characters, even tertiary characters whom end up having zero relevance to anything. I found my self getting most interested in secondary characters and their mini-arcs but then there are pages and pages before it gets back to this character and the arc doesn’t go anywhere because its not really central – so why did the author even bother? I like multiple perspective books but this book would have done well to stick with 2-3 main narrators.
3) The most beautifullest ever! The author seems obsessed with people that are so stunningly beautiful that they drive everyone they come in contact with mad with desire. He has 2 characters like this – unconnected in the story and serving no point (okay one of them has a little point). This wraps in to how he handles sex in the books, which is stiff and self-conscious and just weird though I can’t put my finger on why exactly.
4) Get to the point already! It doesn’t feel like we get to the big-picture main conflict of the story till sometime round page 400. In fact this whole volume feels mostly like set-up, which gets boring at almost 600 pages.
5) No laughs. This book came across as a rollicking adventure set with the tone of a War documentary. Grim Grim Grim with a side of dire and a healthy splash of melodrama. I’m not saying it should have been a comedy but I could have used some comic relief from time to time to lighten and liven things up a bit. I can think of only one character portrayed with a sense of humor and his was the 12 year old boy kind of humor.
Overall, didn’t hate it but a bit of a slog.