Monday, November 19, 2012
Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk Review
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and give a quick critique of the book and the series as a hole. I want to point out some good qualities about the series and qualities that the story lacks. WARNING! May contain spoilers!
In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, Drew discovers that he is a werewolf and rightful king of Lyssia in the seven realms. The story has good character development, develops Hector as a kind young boar lord willing to aid Drew in anyway even it means using the forbiden art of necromancy. We also meet Gretchen, the werefox, how she starts off as a selfish noble and ends with a changed personality, far more kind and friendly. All in all, the first book was really great.
Then comes book two and three, Rage of the Lion, and Shadow of the Hawk. Note that I have not finished book three, but I've read enough to where I have to give a review now. In Rage of the Lion, Drew attempts to rescue Gretchen, while trying to escape his fate as king of Lyssia. I will say when I read that, I thought at first cliche, but then I argued that it made sense that someone like Drew would not want to be king. However, I felt it could have been better, made more convincing. Near the end of Rage of the Lions, Drew accepts his fate as king after escaping his fate of being mauled by undead corpses, only to be boared onto a ship, enslaved by the weregoat Kesslar. Why does Drew suddenly accept his fate as king. I for one thought that resolution was rather rushed. I needed a bit more story than a bunch of action scenes to be convinced that he grew to accept his fate as rightful king of Lyssia. If I was in Drew's predicament, I would need more than the severing of my own paw to get me to accept my fate as king. So far in Shadow of the Hawk, Drew has accepted his fate and seems more noble, but his character seems a little flat. He talks and persuades people like his father would, but he does not seem to be in turmoil. Perhaps Drew's determined to suceed in his quest to free the people of Lyssia from the vile catlords from Bast. He might be a better character now in the third book, but I still need to be convinced.
Hector, on the other hand, is an example of a great character. Curtis Jobling clearly put more effort into developing Hector's character. As we know in Rise of the Wolf, Hector is a kind young boarlord. Once we get into book two, Rage of the Lions, we see the effects of his necromancy take its toll on him. He begins to see creatures called viles. We see him slowly deteriorate. Duke Bergan, the werebear, and the rest of the wolf council find out about his necromancy and strip his membership of the wolf council. Then along comes his brother Vincent, who caused their father's death, as well as bankrupted their city. Vincent proceeds to blackmail his brother's necromancy in exchange for the title of their city. If Hector refuses, he will tell the people of his necromancy, that may as well cause the people to revolt against the wolf. The conflict between the two brothers escalates, and Hector shoves his brother over a railing and falls to his death. Vincent's soul becomes a vile and torments Hector. Count Vega, the wereshark, helps conceal his brother's fate. As the story continues, the Wolf Council is forced to flee the invading forces of the Catlords. Hector by then has discovered the ability to control the vile and make it do his bidding by harming others. By then I've already had an idea that Hector was going to turn evil. My suspicions were confirmed in Shadow of the Hawk.
Hector further deteriorates, using his ability even more. He also leads the members of the Wolf Council to an unknown spot of land, where he hears a voice calling to him, he finds a creature who says he can learn more about necromancy and Hector willingly let's the creature embrace him. Count Vega rescues him as the group is attacked by dead bodies. Hector later hallucinates, grabs Bethwyn, a lady in waiting for Queen Amelie, Drew's mother, and calls her "Gretchen" He talks to her as if she was Gretchen saying, "I dreamed it was you. So caring and kind. I was in such a dark place, Gretchen, so cold and alone. And you were the warmth I could cling to. It was your light that brought me back from the darkness. It was your love," Now why he says that, I have no idea. Could he be in a trance that has to do with Lucas, the young werelion who was in love with Gretchen, fated to have a dark fate? What does that mean? I have yet to figure out. Eventually Vega threatens Hector or he'll spill the truth about Vincent's death. At that point, Hector murders Vega and throws him overboard. Hector is then tricked into leaving the ship, when the rest of the Wolf council finds out the truth about what he has done. He resolves to betray his friends, believing they've betrayed him. He goes to Slotha the werewalwrus and journeys back to Highcliff where the Lucas the werelion threatens to kill him, until Hector demonstrates his necromancy abilities by murdering Slotha. Hector, believing Drew to be dead, and the wolf council having betayed him, he allies himself with the Catlords. Little does he know that Drew is still alive. The ratlords take him to the dead skull of Vankaskan where he robs the vile soul of its knowledge of necromancy. Throughout the two books the black spot on Hector's hand, created in the first book, has consumed his entire hand by this point, withered and mumified.
Hector reminds me of Morgana. If you have watched the British TV show, Merlin, then you know what I'm talking about. Morgana starts off as one of the good guys. In season two her alliances slowly shift. By season three she has shifted alliances and tries to destroy camelot.
The next point I'd like to make about the story is Curtis Jobling's character abuse. By character abuse I mean the constant introducing and disposing of characters throughout the series. In Book two we meet Brogan, Duke Bergan's son. He's in the book only for a short time, before he's killed, later zombified into an undead corpse by Vankaskan. In Book three, we meet Drake, werecrocodile, who sides with Drew, however, he dies in the very first battle they fight together. Jobling also kills, Bergan, Mikkel, Leopold,(by his own son. Everyone seems to claim Bergan killed him. Probably a cover-up story), and various other characters that I cannot think of, because I haven't finished reading Shadow of the Hawk.
So far, my opinion of the third book is unconfirmed, rather mixed. My conclusions so far, is that Curtis Jobling lacks in character development and character usage. However, through the bloody action scenes and his discription, Curtis Jobling does illustrate the medieval time period rather acurately. Have I studied medieval history? No. Do I know a little bit about medieval history? Yes. I know that our society today is far more secure than it was back then. I can tell, the Jobling did his research on the time period. I think that's what his book really is, an illustration of the back stapping, slave selling, alliance forming, kingdoms waring, medieval ages. I want to finish the book series. I really do. I want to find out how Drew's going to handle Hector's betrayal. I wonder how Hector's going to handle the fact that Drew's alive. I bet the British know already, and I'm sitting here wasting my time writing a critique, and questions that have probably already been answered in the United Kingdom, while desperately waiting for the fourth book to come out in America. I am almost tempted to by the U.K copy. But alas, I have to wait. That's why hesitate reading the third book. If Curtis Jobling ends with another painful cliffhanger, I'm going to scream and throw the book across the house. He knows how to keep one interested, that's for sure. He's a clever author.
Well, that's all I have to say for today. Remember, you can find Shadow of the Hawk and the other two books in the children's section at your local Barnes and Noble book store. Keep reading my friends.