Saturday, 3 March 2012
On Dark Shores: The Lady (On Dark Shores Book 1) - J.A. Clement
Title: On Dark Shores: The Lady (On Dark Shores Book 1)
Author: J.A. Clement
"On Dark Shores: The Lady" by J.A. Clement is a relatively short fantasy novel that forms the first part in her "On Dark Shores" series of novels. The story is mainly based around the town of Scarlock which is controlled by a tyrannical money lender named Copeland. In the town lives Nereia, a young woman who has become a thief after her family died and Copeland gave her a choice to either steal or become a prostitute. When Copeland threatens Nereia's younger sister, she realises that she needs to do something now before it is too late. And so, a dangerous and rather violent adventure results as Nereia and her sister attempt to escape from Scarlock and the control of Copeland.
The first comment I need to make is that whilst this is a reasonably enjoyable novel, it really didn't feel very satisfying as an individual story. The ending was a little bit sudden and the whole book just came across as being a vehicle to introduce the reader to a large cast of characters and an overarching plot. If the next book was already available to read then it maybe wouldn't have been so bad, but as it currently isn't, I feel like I have read the first few chapters in a novel and then just had to stop.
However, the heart of the story being told is actually pretty solid and there does seem to be a lot of interesting and engaging plot lines that are intermingled quite nicely with each other. I will admit however that some of the sub-plots did leave me quite confused and in particular I still don't really understand what was going on in the first chapter. Luckily there was enough in the core of the story to keep me reading and I am just hoping that some of the more mysterious sections will be explained in the future books.
In regards to the characters, there is quite a variety of them and I did enjoy the way in which the author swapped between them which enabled me to experience the events from various different points of view. However, the usual issue I see with short novels or novellas is glaringly obvious in that none of the characters seem to have been developed to their full potential. There are some superb building blocks there for future development in the coming novels and I think that Nereia has all the hallmarks of what could be a great heroine but at the moment it just feels like we are just getting a sneak peek.
A little niggle I did have with the characters was in relation to section of the story where one of the characters seems to descend into a form of madness. The issue I had with this was that it came across as just being a cheap way for a character to act in a way that they normally wouldn't have done. I had been appreciating how the main characters and secondary characters were being used up to that point and just felt a little bit let down by this.
Overall, this was a rather interesting fantasy novel although it was a little bit flawed by seemingly be used more as a set up for future books than as a story in its own right. Personally, I was able to look past that though due to the interesting and varied characters and the promise of what looks like a rather enjoyable and complex overall plot. I really am looking forward to see how everything is going to fits together in the end and this alone will probably make sure I pick up the sequel when it is released.
Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Free Reads Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge