Tuesday 25 August 2020

Review on The War of The Snakes

So as I took part in the blog tour for this book I’m just going to dive right into the review. If you haven’t read my blog tour post then I suggest reading that first! Following on from the first book, Sam returns to Magua- Atuai, except this time his stay is a little more permanent. This book all but removed the real-life aspects from the first book and became a full-on high fantasy novel! I think I did prefer how Sam kept world switching in the first book, but doing it this way definitely helped to keep us in the action. I loved how vast this world was, and it was explored far more in this book than in the first one. As the first book was half the size of this one, I felt like the world wasn’t set up fully, but we really see it’s full potential in the sequel.

This book introduces us to a wide range of new characters, which was interesting, but it pushed most of the characters we were introduced to in the first book to the sidelines. As Sam only briefly returns to his world, we barely see Alice, which was disappointing as she was the character who I was most interested in learning more about. As Pania was kidnapped at the end of book one she is absent for the majority of this one, Ma-aka doesn’t return until about halfway through, and even then he doesn’t come up much, and Ngaire is only briefly reunited with Sam before being left behind. The only constant character from the first book was Babu, and although I loved Babu, I missed the other characters. The majority of the characters remained pretty one dimensional. Although fantasy novels often have multiple characters, they usually focus on the protagonist and around five other characters. I think what just didn’t work was all the characters apart from Sam and Babu were focused on equally, so we never got to a point where we knew them well and cared about them. Something else I noticed was how the spelling of certain character’s names kept changing. Honestly it made it seem like the author just threw them in and forgot their names!

There is a severe lack of women in this series which I was disappointed about. I think only four women in the whole book actually had names, and although women fought alongside the men, the book focused on the men. The book was never openly diverse, and although I pictured Ma-aka in my head as being black, the book never actually describes anyone's race. Even though this lets us picture the characters however we want, it also means I can’t openly praise it for including diverse characters. The sad truth is that people often see white as the default when race isn’t mentioned, so even if the author had intended certain characters to be POC, it didn’t come across directly.

Despite the characters lacking detail, I do have to talk about how much I loved Howahkan, a Bjarke who had changed sides to help the Turangai. The Bjarke are a bit like the Slytherins or the Wen Clan (points if you get that reference!) in that everyone thinks they are all inherently evil. However Howahkan was tortured by the Bjarke after he refused to murder a mother and child and was saved by the Turangai. I loved that he went against what was expected of him and realised what the Bjarke were doing was wrong. There were a few hints that he was still secretly working for the Nephillim, but as this was never really confirmed I still want to believe he’s good. Really I’ll be disappointed if he turns out to be evil in the next book!

Although I enjoyed the book it felt like it just wasn’t quite ready to be published. There were some inconsistences such as the first book explaining that the gender of the padme were the same as the person they were assigned to, but in this book some of the Padme had different gender to their charge, and as I mentioned earlier, the spellings of side characters names changed. It made it even more impossible to remember who was who! I am interested in this story enough to want to finish the series, but I do hope more attention is paid to it and that characters other than Sam and Babu have their chance to shine.

The War of The Snakes is now available to purchase!

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