I’m back. With another entry of Johnathon Moeller’s Ghost series.
Brace for impact, children.
Title: Ghost in the Flames
Series: (Book 2) The Ghosts
Author: Johnathon Moeller
Genre: Fantasy (Sword-and-Sorcery)
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Amazon Score: 1 Star (would have liked to give it 1.5)
Johnathon Moeller’s Ghost in the Flame, second in the Ghosts series, has committed the ultimate sin of sword-and-sorcery/adventure fantasy literature: it’s boring. I apologize for being potentially overly-frank with just my opening statement, but I feel it’s within prospective buyer’s best interests to know the real crux of the opposing argument as early as possible. But let’s get more specific.
Pros: Ark, a series newcomer, is much more interesting than Caina or anybody else has been up until this point. Take that for what you will.
Like the last entry, the action scenes are all fluid, easy to follow, and quick. Although, they do wear out their welcome about midway through the book.
Cons: Caina, an ultimately flat and uninteresting character, is the only perspective in this book. This is a change from the previous installment in the series. I got tired of hearing her voice very early on.
The plot is essentially the same three events happening in a loop until the heroes are smart enough to realize the very obvious answers in front of their faces. Once you see one fight in a street or dinner with a noble, you’ve seen the next eight to come.
As an extension of the above, the heroes are even more staggeringly dim-witted when it comes to missing key and obvious plot details.
The novel has very little beyond its action scenes, which do get old quickly because of the slogging plot.
In short, and this is the worst offender of them all, this book is simply boring. It does little to nothing on an emotional level, instead preferring to focus almost entirely on the surface-level events like those previously mentioned. The writing isn’t particularly flawed or difficult to read, it’s that it’s so painfully serviceable in a plot that doesn’t so much go forward as it makes ever-expanding circles until it eventually reaches the end as a result.
A lot of my previous complaints from the last entry in the series are present here, too. The world is malnourished and underdeveloped, and the characters are lackluster, oftentimes being shockingly one-dimensional. Even Ark, the series newcomer, isn’t enough to salvage the novel. Perhaps if every character had his level of development, Ghost in the Flame would be a little more interesting, perhaps even worth a tentative recommendation.
As it stands, though, this is a step backwards from the already-underwhelming first entry.
Overall: The first one was better; it’s not a good thing.
Ghost in the Flames‘ Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Flames-The-Ghosts-Book-ebook/dp/B005G69H5C
I feel like I want to give this series one last look before burying it (and possibly myself) for good. I can’t tell if that’s just my inherent optimism getting the better of me or if I’m slowly becoming a masochist. God help me if it’s both!
Good luck, you brave writer (and reader) folk!