I’m struggling with the appropriate star rating for this book, which I’m finding I’m doing more and more these days. This is one of those books that swayed from 3 to 5 often. It’s why I’ve chosen the middle of the two. Never once did I feel this dropped to 2 stars, however. It stayed well above that, for me anyways.
First, the reasons why it dipped to 3, which you’ll notice is due to personal taste:
One, I’m not a fan of description. A lot of detail, paragraphs of world history, and lack of dialog usually loses my interest. There is a fair amount of description in this book and even more history. It made me trudge through certain spots.
Second, it took me quite a long time to read this book when the length should have allowed me to pound this away in the span of a day of reading. What slowed it down was getting acquainted with all the names and places. It had a lot going on so this won’t be a quick read. Even with as slow as I read it, I’m sure I lost details.
Now, why it rose to 5:
I LOVE animals. This had transfiguration magic and a couple hounds as pets. I found the transfiguration fascinating and extremely well described. Furthermore, the hounds were a satisfying addition for an animal lover such as myself.
I was immensely entertained by White’s subtle humor when the those rare moments presented themselves. It got a couple smiles out of me.
I’m not latched on to any one character, but I think Thaddeus is the most well developed of them all. I’m not a 100% sure why I say so, save that I felt I ‘got’ him as a character. Even so, I was always watching him with a wary eye. Honestly, over half the characters kept me on the fence, which is great. They’re not your cookie-cutter types. Horst was my second favorite, though he seemed a little stiff sometimes. I would have liked more insight/emotion into his mind/feelings, more so for his past, how it shaped him, and how he feels about it.
Lastly, I’m a fan of White’s writing. There were a handful of moments he lost me, but the rest of the time I fell into a wonderful, rhythmic reading trance.
On to the story itself.
This read more like a murder mystery to me. Since we stayed within the same city, there were no epic magical lands that we traveled to and we did not undertake ‘quests’ that usually reside in fantasy novels. This isn’t a bad or good thing. It’s just something I felt.
That being said, there was magic, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and a few fights that kept me entertained (wish there were more). With White’s descriptions, I had no problem imagining the city and its denizens.
What impressed me the most were all the tiny world details White crammed into the book. Indeed, this world is intricate, well planned, and White seemed to think of everything one would need to know to live in a ‘real’ world.
I have to say, Sir Edric’s Temple is my favorite of White’s books, and I might have been begging the pages for more of his humor. White has the ability to create a serious, dark story sprinkled with jewels of hilarity. I savored those rare moments in this book.
To conclude my ramblings, I’m very much looking forward to reading anything by White. With promises for a second book to Bane of Souls, I hope I don’t wait too long.