'Heir of Lies' by Mallory McCartney left me absolutely conflicted, so bear with me as I work through the things I'm feeling. There are about two quotes in the entire novel I find worthwhile to ever repeat.. and I will share one of them with you.
"He was a darkened duet of body and ability, the two forces creating a lethal harmony."
Sadly, the writer mostly falls back on cliche television statements most of us have made jokes with.
"Naturally, you have to understand I can't tell you where that is located, or I will have to kill you."
The story is about a.. well.. it's sort of a soap opera. The main character is a princess named Emory Fae. She's a girl with an extraordinary gift, in a world where some have special abilities and others have none. Like any society, of course, the majority of one group looks down on the other. All told in the longest, most convoluted way you can imagine, and for the first 30% or so of the book.. also the most mind-numbing. If our grandparents were right and rolling our eyes or making faces too many times might freeze them that way, I'd be dealing with the aftermath of that right now.
There is.. and this is going to sound strange.. an overabundance of text within the spines of this book. What I mean by that is.. the author has a tendency to go on and on, throwing a lot of lovely words onto a page.. often without any real sense of direction. Long drawn out sentences, which by the time you're finished reading, fail to make any real sense because many of those words feel like they're simply there to fill the book. Such an effort made to use descriptors, that the statements become absurd. Like, "..revealing Nyx's uncanny ability to have stone cold features." Really? Being able to remain sober faced is an uncanny ability.. in a place where characters can possess others, take another's abilities, or control the elements? But she's straight-faced.. so.. that's uncanny.
Another thing this story suffers from is overkill. Quite like the last twenty minutes of The Departed. I realize the title is 'Heir of Lies,' but nearly everyone in this story is hiding something major, and it's not even interesting most of the time. One group brings about horrible things because they lied, the next group is aghast at such behavior. That group follows the same path and surprise, the next situation is reacted to in the very same way. It's actually so repetitive that it's ridiculous.
I feel like maybe at one point the author was moved by a series like 'Game of Thrones,' where literally no character is ever really safe.. and while that can be really interesting over the course of years, several books, seasons, what have you.. within one title it's such a narrow window of processing time that it feels a bit desperate.
In fact, this might have made an all right tv series. It's got a really good core. Deep down below all the fluff and missteps, the idea of the story is intriguing. Some of the characters are charismatic and interesting. Brokk, Marquis, Roque, Nei, Adair.. all characters with a ton of flair and fascinating backstories. All characters with a ton of potential. And there are glimpses of an author who understands how to develop them, but they're fleeting. Unfortunately, the main character isn't interesting at all. She's mildly annoying at best and often useless.
More than most titles, the few days I spent reading this book, felt like weeks. Not because so much occurred within it, nor because years and years passed by in the timeline. Though, those things are true too. But because with the exception of a handful of scenes centered mostly on the characters I named above, it was just delivered in a way that bored me to death. Things would occur and then someone would conveniently explain why they happened that way. Oh, there was some secret they didn't tell before.. or.. some thing they didn't realize was important until the moment, but that just meant it read like the author also didn't know how to develop the story properly. It became, show the situation, download the excuses to the reader. Over and over.. and over. And then, after spending what felt like weeks reading the story, to find it end in the middle of the resolutions with a cliffhanger.. was just kind of frustrating.
I've said it before, there are times when cliffhangers work, even are necessary.. but they're few and far between.. and this wasn't one of them. There's no way I'd willingly read a second book to find out what happens. I'm just going to pretend things went the way I think they should have.. and move on.
Honestly, if a really good, really experienced editor took this writer aside, it might even be fixable. But as it is, I can't in good conscience recommend it.