By Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps
The Author’s Voice:
From the first few paragraphs I could tell this book had a fairy tale feel to it which suits the book, and me, just fine. The narrative language is suited to the time period, with a vocabulary that shows good research and a love of historical fantasy. I would have to call it a historical fantasy fairy tale tone.
The dialogue struck me as highfalutin early on, but the family is high society, trusted and loved by Kings and Queens – so it works for them. If everyone in the book had spoken that way, it would have ruined it, but they dont. Every race, and region has it’s own style of language making each creature, and person as unique as the first ones you meet.
While the dialects and language of the various races and characters is a strength, it also makes it a bit uncomfortable to read at times. Example:
“Then as hit thinks me, sitting over here you will need to be before to you the rest of hit I can for to tell.” – Meri Greenwood
Now, granted, I took this completely out of context 2 pages into the dialogue with Razzmorten. The reader does have a bit of a chance to grow acquainted with Meri’s style of language – but not much. I had to read that sentence about five times to know what the little Yoda-esque guy was talking about. That ripped me away from the book for minute and was frustrating. It happens a few times throughout the book.
The story starts with the return of the black plague, which has not afflicted the land in over 200 years. I sensed a little of Terry Goodkind’s influence here, as the story has hints of his fourth book in the Sword of Truth series, Temple of the Winds. But the plague itself is not the plot, it’s a portion thereof.
The slow reveal of the actual core plot is done well, but then the plague takes a back seat and is ultimately resolved in a way that is anticlimactic and leaves the reader to find out what happened second hand. Also, Ugleeuh’s disappearance for 5 years puts a hole in the book as far as Im concerned. It was too sudden and without enough explanation. Also, many things that I would have liked to have seen during those 5 years were simply glossed over or “told” rather than shown. Is it a major failing of the book? No, I dont think wishing for more out of a book is a major failing. It means you are enjoying it, and want more – but it also means I felt a little cheated. Just a little.
The Technical Stuff
There are some POV switches in mid chapter that are a bit confusing at times which tends to push the reader back out of the story. It took me a few moments to change gears internally and try to delve back in. It happens only a few times, but it is my biggest complaint about the book by far.
There were also some misspellings, and some formatting errors, but they didnt bother me much, save for once or twice when they happened in quick succession. You’ll find most of the issues in the middle of the book – dangerous territory to have problems.
The glossary was a great idea, and I recommend every reader bookmark it. However, I will say that if a fantasy novel needs a glossary, you might want to slow down with the amount of information thrown at the reader.
From start to end, Good Sister, Bad Sister held my attention. Even when it had its technical issues with POV and formatting, I kept reading in spite of its flaws. That’s where the mixed bag of reviews on Amazon comes from. This is another great book that is a victim of under-editing.
I loved the fairy tale style, and the shameless way it introduces high fantasy elements like fairies, elves, and magic. The world is well fleshed out, as are the people who live in it to the point that it would make a great Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting. (Something for the authors to consider, in my opinion) The only problem with the setting in MHO, is that with Razzmorten and other characters teleporting everywhere, I never really got a sense of its scope. I would have liked to see a map of the world to give me some perspective.
Would I recommend the book to a friend? Sure, but with a caveat. Some of my friends and family members have little patience for things like formatting and other errors, and I would feel the need to warn them. But overall, the story is what is important, and Good Sister, Bad Sister delivers a good one.
Will I read the next book in the series. Yes. I liked enough to keep going, so look for my Hook Review of Book 2, The Collector Witch.
4 Stars Overall
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