Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hung up on the Age Range: Empire of Night

I don't normally read YA fiction, but I'm willing to be persuaded, occasionally. I gave Kelley Armstrong's Sea of Shadows a change because it didn't sound like it was written for an overtly young audience - no high school backdrop, for one thing. And the fantasy seemed dark enough in its premise to interest me.

I was pleasantly surprised, as you can read here, but in my head I kept thinking that Armstrong could have taken her story, and her characters, to deeper and darker places if it had been written for an adult audience.

After having read the second installment in the series, Empire of Night, I still feel the same way. The development of the characters was very good, and there are still some (Gavril, ahem) whose intentions are not entirely clear. And yes, things are done sufficiently darkly some of the time (the hounds in the forest, or when Moria is taken prisoner, and what happens to Ashe at the inn), but overall I still felt like the premise was made for an adult audience, and it's being oppressed by the limitations of its target demographic. That is largely attributable to the dialogue. Especially between Moria and Gavril. That's where I felt a sense of high-school drama, which an endless series of snarky comebacks with didn't fit the mood with the actual plot of the story, which is quite dark.

There was a lot to like - more adventure, more supernatural creatures, more warfare and romantic tension. I especially liked the way the issue of news and rumors is handled during wartime. Don't get me wrong, I did like this book. Very much. And I'm eager to read the series to its conclusion. I don't know- maybe it's me. Maybe a 16-18 year old wouldn't make such a stink about trifles.

K Rating: 4/5

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