I was eager to explore the sampler for 'Igniting Darkness,' the final novel in the 'Courting Darkness' duology by Robin LaFevers.
I've seen the first book around quite a lot in the review and bookstagram communities and wanted to see what it was all about. I was certain I was missing something. The story summaries both sound really good and the covers are beautiful.
Unfortunately, this read was very underwhelming for me.
Those who are familiar with me, know I talk about this all the time. Multiple POV storytelling is tough. When it's done well, it broadens the scope of understanding, helps the reader connect solidly with the story, and provides more room to maneuver character path outcomes.
While this novel is structurally sound, it's also a good example of an author who shouldn't be writing multiple POV. At least, not yet. As LaFevers skills go, that one is woefully underdeveloped. Though each of the characters is saying different things, conveying different experiences.. the author fails to distinguish between their narratives. They all speak in the same 'voice' and the result is uninspired. When pairs of them come together for an exchange, there are times you have to work to recognize which character is speaking.
It's just one uninteresting, monotonous line of text after the other and it shouldn't be that way. Honestly, there is palace intrigue, betrayals, subterfuge, hidden machinations.. all around. There are secret sects and talk of poisonings! These are not the types of things that should be lackluster plot points, but there is no draw to any of it.
Likewise, there's no pull to any of the characters themselves. They are paper thin, not only lacking distinctive voices, but also a sense of earnestness. If they're feeling things, that's not making it off the pages. We're told they're having emotions.. but the author fails to make us experience them. Excuses and explanations for past actions fall from their lips without any expression of passion beyond an appropriately placed bit of punctuation.
What a disappointment.