December 8th, 2011


Plot chasms....

Gaaarrrgh. I really hate it when authors I greatly admire have what seem to be big giant plotholes in their books. Especially when the main romance and many other characters and plot elements are so good.Case in points? Ilona Andrews' "Bayou Moon," the second in the Edge series. Unlike the Kate Daniels series ("Magic Bites," etc.), instead of a world where magic has returned and caused chaos and massive socio-cultural shifts, in the Edge universe, the "Broken" (the normal everyday world we know) and the "Weird" (the magic-dominated everyday alternate dimension its dwellers and assorted magical creatures are familiar with) are divided by the "Edge," which is an area where the inhabitants are aware of both the Broken and the Weird, can (often) pass between them, at least going into the Broken. The Edge pretty much runs along the Appalachians and into the Louisiana bayou... in short, the areas in the US with a history of poverty and extremely insular cultures (explained here as being in the backwoods boundary area between a dimension of tech and a dimension of magic where there are magical critters and problems and people having weird talents of varying strength). The first book was written pretty much as a one-shot-- the villain is neatly dealt with by the end, the romantic pairing has been worked out, happy endings all round. For the second-- and, by now, third-- books-- the author(s) (gah, always confusing to figure out how to refer to a husband-and-wife team who take a single pen name...) came up with a whole other complicated ongoing magical conflict and a posse of ninja villains and all sorts of complicated spy chicanery and so on. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just slightly left-fieldish after a first book that was going in such a completely different direction in a lot of ways. Kind of, "Oops, we need a more sustained, serious conflict with many more complications to carry this series forward."

There's nothing wrong with that-- and there's certainly nothing wrong with having a book that is much, much longer.when the authors' writing style is such a pleasure to read, and the two main characters are so well-developed (and, generally speaking, manage to AVOID having stupid mis-perceptions about how they feel about each other, because they actually take the time to think things through).

At the same time, there were some issues. First, there was a serious pacing problem, where a major plot thread got resolved in two sentences after chapters and chapters dealing with the other parts of the plot. It came across as super-super rushed ("The battle took approximately half an hour, and accomplished everything it was supposed to, the end."). Like... there was too much plot to cram into the amount of space that was left in the book, but not enough to be a second book.

My more significant problem (which I am going to discuss in great, spoilerish details after the cut) was something that is... well, it's either that there is a plot hole, or I missed something despite repeatedly looking for it. I'm putting it below the cut; anybody familiar with the book, feel free to chip in.

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