Traitor to the Blood

Traitor to the Blood (The Noble Dead) - Barb Hendee;J.C. Hendee

Reviewing the middle books in a long series (and this is book 4 of the original series 6, and I think 12 or 15 of the expanded universe) is hard. They either settle down into a formula, like monster of the week episodes of a tv show, or the plot is still moving along but the worldbuilding is done and the characters familiar but still developing.

 

Except here, this is a meh filler book. The worldbuilding is still going on apace, but the characters are the same old same old. We got a bunch of new throwaway characters (who seem to get more development than the main characters, but we'll never see them again). Margiere is grumpy, Wynn is stupid, Leesil is self-destructive and sad. Welstiel is still an ass with an agenda all his own, and Chane as utterly pointless as ever. Chap at least gets filled out quite a lot here, and we learn a bit more about Leesil's heritage.

 

At this point, I'm going to finish this series (and admittedly, the next book is looking more interesting, it's all about the elves who have been singularly mysterious until now), but I can't see myself reading the rest of the universe books. Particularly since Wynn is apparently the main character in those. 

 

I think my real problem with this series is they are basically good reads, but too long. Every single one of them has felt like they could have shaved a good 50-100 pages off, and tightened up the story a lot. The endless running around town in the dark, for instance, or the 3 pages it took to describe Margiere fooling the town guards by opening a window in a stable while in fact hiding in a cellar under a hatch. A cellar with two barrels in it! that she didn't see at first! that have absolutely no point, but get a half a paragraph to themselves!  Or the fact that she can smell the guards as well as hear them clomping around above her. Ok, sure that could be to point out just how close they are to her, but there is description for "flavour" and there is "clutter" and these books tend to come down rather more on the latter. If you want to describe the guards aftershave, maybe skip describing the unimportant barrels in the cellar. But what do I know, I'm just a reader.