Reading Level: Adult
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Nightbound Land duology
Source: eARC through NetGalley.com
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Nightbound Land duology. I got an eGallery of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. This is a wildly creative and dark series and this book did a good job of continuing and concluding the events that began in book one.
David and Margaret are in the city of Hardacre and need to journey North to the Great Engine if they are going to have any hope of stopping the Roil from consuming the whole world. David is trying to fight off the infection that Cadell gave him that is turning David into an Old Man, as well as deal with his Carnivale drug habit. Margaret remains addicted to her weapons and will stop at nothing to get David to the Great Engine.
This book is set in an incredibly creative world. Basically you have the Roil, a seething mass of bad things that likes heat and is taking over the world, and you have the humans that fight the Roil (equipped with cold technology weapons). Thrown into all this you have the Old Men, creatures of huge appetite that are incredibly ancient and may (or may not) have the good of humanity in mind.
David and Margaret are more likable as characters in this book than they were in the first book. Sure David is still an addict; but he also fights a constant struggle with being taken over by the Old Man (Cadell) who dwells within him. Margaret is still trigger happy and paranoid, but she is also incredibly loyal to David…or maybe more to the quest of defeating the Roil.
There are other characters sprinkled throughout the story, but the story goes through so many different viewpoints that we never get to know these characters very well. This book isn’t really about characterization, it’s more about a creative world and an eternal struggle against an ever growing enemy.
The book focuses on Margaret and David’s journey, but many parts of the book are from different points of view as well. These different points of view help to show you how different parts of the world are suffering, but they also make the story loose focus a lot of the time. When all was said and done, I failed to see how all these extra bits really contributed to the whole.
Each chapter started with a quote from somewhere, the quote kind of sets the tone for the coming chapters and gives a bit of history.
I had more trouble reading this book than I did the first one. All the viewpoints made the story too scattered. Too much time was spent with David’s constant battle with the Old Man inside of him. Not enough time was spent on fights with the Roil. I was really hoping to learn more about some of the giant Leviathan-like creatures in the Roil and more about the Roil itself, that really wasn’t the focus of this book. The conclusion was also fairly predictable and I wished that there had been some more engaging twists and turns.
The book wraps up well and remains true to the kind of hopeless feel that this whole world has to it.
Overall this is a decent conclusion to this duology. I had some problems with the scattered points of view, while it shows the broader scope of the Roil, it also scattered the story. The story moves slower than the first book and was fairly predictable; the characters are so-so. The thing that is really awesome about this book is the world that is created here; I really wish this book would have focused more on what the Roil was and the creatures in it. I recommend this to fantasy fans who love creative world-building and are interested in a steampunk flavor to their fantasy.