“Both stood, still and breathless. Kira glanced at his uncle and saw on his face the same building terror he felt, for the forest above, before and below them, on the southern side of the Knife, was not a mere collection of trees, but rather monstrous spears thrust into the ground by a god. The trees, barely a hundred feet away from the sheer southern edge of the ridgeline, rose from somewhere far below, yet they still reached upwards for hundreds of yards above their heads. Their trunks, thirty yards or more in diameter, dominated the landscape. …
What surrounded them were no longer trees, but monsters whose bodies were encased in a dense armor of bark the color of dried blood. Hundreds of feet overhead, misshapen branches reached out like grotesquely broken arms with long, twisted fingers, their ancient needles shrouding the forest in a darkness that light could scarcely pierce.”
With all this said I wasn’t a fan of the world in general. We are to imagine that this world is rich in folks with different abilities and that one specific kind are persecuted and hunted to extinction… then all of a sudden a bunch of people come out of the woodwork and they are all deadbringers! Uhh, what?! All of them?! Yes. We suddenly switch from a very intriguing Kira POV being chased and using his abilities for the first time ever… then we are with the sanctifiers who GIVE UP pursuing Kira and Eutau for the moment but we persist in their POV nevertheless!
We learn two of them are deathbringers: E’sinea and Amonos. Both are intriguing characters if psychotic at first blush. It’s very odd because it feels like this other book has been started, jammed in the middle of another story! Why? I’m not sure, even by the end it is puzzling and nothing is confirmed in any way. Lyse kept me puzzled for a long time because he reminded me of Amonos. And then it seemed E’sinea became a main character with Lan and the whole ship deal. I was actually really rooting for Lan and E’sinea… I hope she isn’t the one who caused the ship… All of the characters were very neat and well developed even if they all ended up being deadbringers (hence the title Deadbringers plural, huh?!) but they didn’t really serve to do anything except lay a foundation for something possibly happening with them in the future. The Ten was actually a part of the world that I appreciated but it kind of felt jammed at the end of the book as setup for the next book and it was all a little too late after all the deadbringers. I really felt like a lot of this is just setup for the “real” story – which I wish we could have just skipped to.
The plot got very skimpy and rather boring in the middle, the traveling got so tedious I wanted the sanctifiers to catch up just so there would be a battle or something. “The story of the Katarus meeting their 2 deadbringer companions was quite good and the black tears were interesting, but why did Asamos leave? Why the big friendship speech? Why did he need two guides to travel through an area where nothing happened?” This is the type of question I had all through the book and none of them were answered! In fact, the things that were confirmed were things I had already figured out and I knew would be confirmed when the story came around to them.* The plot was all over the place. The promised pace was not kept as we advanced through the story but slowed to a crawl.
And then there is the end… “What a crappy messed up ending?! It’s practically incoherent!!” That is the note I made at the end. There is a gratuitous quasi-masturbation scene that will turn your stomach. If it wasn’t at the end I would have been done at that point. If there was a point to a scene like that then that is fine, especially since this is for adults, but it just seemed to be there is stir things up and not in a good way. I don’t even really see a reason to keep reading based on this ending… If I were to pick up the second book it is because of the characters and those first initial scenes that I would be hoping we get back to…and maybe the scenes with E’sinea and Lan (E’sinea seemd to me to become a co-lead with Kira. Really I am more intrigued at this point buy him than by Kira…)