Friday, 6 February 2015

Book Review: Path of the Heretic by Ivan Amberlake (Beholder #2)

Coming Soon: Spring 2015!

With Emily Ethan gone, Jason Walker is left with too many questions unanswered. The more he gets to know the world of Energy and Sight, the harder it is for him to belong in this world. He can’t enter Sight when there are too many people around. He does things and then can’t remember doing them. And then Emily comes to his dreams and gives him clues where to look for the answers.

Should he believe her, or is it just another attempt to get him killed.

My Review:
I re-read The Beholder to refresh my memory as to who everyone was and how the events unfolded in our first adventure with Jason. It was the right decision as it helped me to just jump into the second adventure as if I'd never been away from it. This was an ARC kindly provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Jason is trying to pick up the pieces over losing Emily, hurting from losing the love of his life and stinging from her betrayal. She is always there in his thoughts and dreams, and he cannot seem to forget about her. However, there is a battle to be won. Pariah is changing the rules, attacking in front of the Unsighted, and now has a weapon that he can use to deplete the side of Light, taking their strongest warriors from them. Light has it's own secrets and tricks, and Jason needs to unlock them if they have any hope of winning the war.

There was no easing the reader into the book-it starts with a bang and a battle, and in we go. It is faster paced than the first book, which is to be expected. The Beholder was introducing us to a new world and explaining how things worked. As this was not necessary in book two, the plot moved faster which suited me nicely. The writing again was smooth and had enought description to draw you into the story, without boring you with anything that didn't need to be there. The use of language again was excellent, something that is a trademark of this author. The story was certainly well thought through.

The POV switching between Light and Dark characters is constant, which kept you aware of what both sides were doing. I liked this, and it meant that there was always something happening in the plot but it didn't always flow smoothly. We would get a scene with Jason becoming aware that the enemy was ahead of him in the forest and he was about to be attacked, and the next chapter showed the enemy starting into the forest to look for him and then finding and attacking him. It felt as if we were taking half a step back at the beginning of some of the chapters which I'm not sure I liked. It was better when Jason went on his rescue mission mixed in with Debbie's story-it flowed nicely and led seamlessly to the battle starting. Then in the battle, we were back to the backward step version again with Jason arriving after we already know he has arrived as we saw it through Debbie. It made things a little disjointed in places. It is a minor niggle though. None of the niggles in this paragraph spoiled the overall enjoyment of the book.

I loved the never ending twists which began in book one and were carried forward into book two. First there is the mystery of Emily and what happened to her. Well, I never believed that she was dead or we would have seen her body, but I was unsure as to what form she would take if she appeared in the book alive. We do get to see exactly what led to her betrayal, the reasons behind it, what secrets she had and who she was working with. These parts of the story were fascinating and it gives the reader a whole new insight into several of the main characters, challenging what we thought we knew about them. I am not going to spoil the book by telling the secrets, but I must warn the reader to prepare to be surprised! We do finally get answers to all the questions about Emily's actions, so that was pleasing.

Moving on to the other characters, it was nice to see everyone who survived book one coming back. There are also a couple of surprises with 'new' characters. I never actually saw the point of Violet though. She seemed to be there just to look like Emily, to cause confusion for Jason, and to cling to him like a helpless female to let him do the macho protection thing. I never really took to her or cared much what happened to her. The surprise visitor to McAlester's was much more interesting to me, but we don't really see enough of him which is a pity. For me, the most interesting character in this book is Damien. Learning more about him was interesting but I was less than satisfied by the abrupt way his story was 'put aside' and never really mentioned again.

I felt the same about the secret that Tyler shared with Debbie during the battle-we are shown it briefly and not all readers may grasp what they are actually being shown. And that's it. I would've expected Tyler to say something about it-laugh, gloat etc, a reaction from Debbie, something with more depth like Debbie having to actually live the incident with the victims, given the importance of this revelation. But it is only mentioned once nearer the end of the book that Debbie tells the others about it. For such an important secret, an important part of Emily's past, I felt it was dealt with in a manner that was a bit low key. It was the shock of the book for me yet none of the characters talked about it, just a line by the author mentioning it in the aftermath of the battle. I found that a bit surprising. Usually when the shock is delivered it is a highlight of a scene, not just a few lines and then subject dropped.

Overall the standard of the series is kept the same with this book being slightly better than the first purely because I liked the pacing. Those who enjoyed the first adventure should enjoy this one just as much. 
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