Wilting Souls by C.R.J. Riggins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Once I got into the story, I wanted a much longer novel and a complete omission of its existing end. The novel is just too damn short to pull off such a meteoric rise. I liked Bandares. I had no problems with his descent into revenge and a black hole of a human heart. He truly began as a naive little kid, and I enjoyed seeing his fall into what he was slowly becoming, but that's part of the problem. I was still at the beginning of his fall when everything just turned off.
Believe it or not, there's a lot to love in the tale. I've rarely seen such a good blend of so many mind-boggling intense alien races to fill the gaps of the universe, skillfully borrowed and woven into this tapestry from so many of the best Space-Opera elements I've ever read, twisted sufficiently to be rather unique, and others that only give a glimpse of true coolness.
The three main characters are memorable and thrown right into the middle of the action pretty damn well, given problems and flushed down the toilet when things really got screwy. Believe me, I appreciated the speed and the direction of the novel and it was a damn easy read.
Other minor problems that I got stuck with at the beginning was the (to me) over-reliance on sex and sex-byproducts. Sure, it has a place in the novel from a worldbuilding perspective, but I would have felt more inclined to dive into the novel more without the gratuity of the cultural expectation. I would have been fine with implications without it being repeated so much. It's just my personal preference.
What the hell happened with Wa'raydon? I can't ignore the huge dangling rope of a plot like that.
It's another reason why the novel needs to be simply continued, maybe three or four times it's current length. I'd read the hell out of it, and enjoy much further development of the characters. As it is right now, we got to the end of the first act. I expect a hell of a lot more rise and fall and rise again and fall again before a resolution that either confirms or denies the internal issues going on in everyone.
What can I say? I'm hooked on the characters and I absolutely loved the space battle/s. They were all very strong.
As a reader, I'm saying that I want more! Don't pull away my satisfaction like this! Otherwise, I probably would have given it a five out of five. :)
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