Up a Level
Into the Reach by Alana Abbott

Finished Into the Reach by Alana Abbott yesterday during Fluffy's Tae Kwon Do tournament And I like talking about the books I read. So, guess what, I'm going to talk about it. I heard about the book when browsing the links of people who comment on my blog. Yeah, I'm pretty shallow but I'm also interested in reading what other people read, not only for seeing how real authors write thing but also for tips myself. At GenCon, I wandered past the booth, where I made small chat.

... it was two days later that I got to my list of "must-visit" booths and realized that I was already there. So, I picked up the first book of hers and put it on my to-read list.

I found the introduction catching and, given the time I had to read at first, it pulled me into reading more. The main characters all had a lovely level of depth to them, with the hidden secrets and drives that kept them going. The dream sequences in the beginnings of the chapters, on the other hand, didn't really add anything for me. I had to force myself to read through the italic sections. Actually, I got confused with a couple of them and had to read them a couple of times. Beyond that, the characters really had all the flaws that I really love in a story. In fact, the main villain was my favorite character in the entire book. He has such wonderful flaws and insanity and almost wish he had slightly more "screen time" for his heroic (anti-heroic) death.

On the other hand, I despised the dwarf (sorry). He was too perfect, knowing everything going on. It was that first encounter, when he prattles on everyones' apparent secrets that really irked me. It reminded me of too many game masters that did everything I hated. But, other than that character, I thought that Alana has a wonderful skill in creating characters who had some personality and depth to them.

Her descriptions are what I would call light and enjoyable. They didn't have the same richness of detail that her characters have, but they did give enough to get the idea of what was going on in the scene. I personally prefer a bit more details, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The major exception is the one woman's armor. Now, that was the level of detail that I really like. There were only two places I had a bit of trouble. One was the switching between the race/species and the character. Since I don't know the world setting, which I'm sure would help, it took me a bit to figure who was who. Plus, the race of the thief was used in the beginning and at the end, but not so much in the middle so I had to think for a moment. The other place was the fight scenes. I liked the settings of the fight, and their reasons were executed nicely, but the rapid-fire descriptions I missed a couple of things or I felt that it was rushed. That was really obvious in the final fight, where it felt like the fight was a paragraph or three at the moment, then it was over. That might have been since I was rooting for the bad guy, but he was nicely screwed up.

(As one point, I also didn't care for the picture on 147. The woman on bottom does not even remotely look in danger.)

I did enjoy the plot, but that ties nicely into the character's drives and secrets. They were woven together into a lovely story that smoothly lead into the next book (which I don't have). I will pick up the second and I'll definitely read the book at least twice more in the next year or so. The light touch on the details, interesting characters, and beginning of a plot creates a book that I feel the need to start reading the series from the beginning, even when I pick up the next one.

Summer Biking: (260.7 of 400.0 km)
Change of Honor (2 of 4 rounds)
Another Werewolf's Tail (2 of 4 rounds)
Commissioned Work (1 of 4 rounds)