I…think I may have to give up on this book before finishing. Never before have I experienced such euphoria in beginning a book (I was thoroughly engrossed and impressed at how good it was), only to feel crushed at how the book and characters failed to deliver after the 3rd section or so.
Abisina lives in Vranille, where she is an outcast for having dark skin, dark hair, and green eyes. The only person allowed to talk to her is her mother. Some guy-demon named Charach shows up one day (he has apparently been expected and eagerly awaited) and instructs the villagers to kill the outcasts. Abisina escapes, and her mother is killed — but not before she gives Abisina instructions to find her long lost father in the mythical, magical land of Watersmeet. Along the way, Abisina meets dwarves, centaurs, and all sorts of other creatures she’s been instructed to hate her whole life. Eventually, she makes it to Watersmeet and meets daddy, and that is where the book turns bad.
Up until the arrival in Watersmeet, the book was quite solid. Shockingly solid, I’d say. So, how in the world did it fall apart so badly? Maybe Abbott was possessed by a child while she was writing the second half of the book — that’s certainly how it reads. For example: Abisina is distraught at the idea of going to war for Watersmeet against Charach, because she doesn’t know if she can bear the thought of watching her father die in battle. She goes on for pages and pages about how she is NOT GOING TO WAR. Then, her father asks her to go for a ride (horseback), and a couple of trots in, she is all like OKAY YAY I AM TOTALLY GOING TO WAR. I mean, hello — show me some freaking inner turmoil, here! Or at least a couple of lines of dialogue in which Daddy tells Abisina not to be scared (we’re not dealing with Arwen, here)…
Also, we get kind of beat over the head with the messages of TOLERANCE! ACCEPTANCE! and IT IS TOTALLY OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT YOU GUYS, I MEAN SERIOUSLY, DWARVES ARE ACTUALLY REALLY NICE.
It just seems to be lacking…something. To say that I am disappointed in this book would be an understatement. However, I wouldn’t be nearly as disappointed as I am if the first 200 pages of the book weren’t as good as they are. (Sorry for the excess of negatives).
Anywho, if I ever finish this book maybe I’ll come back to tell you if it redeemed itself.