My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’ve been a huge fan of Danann’s Black Swan Series, gleefully extolling the virtues of every volume and posting reviews. Unfortunately, this book left me sad and irritated. I rate it 2.5 stars.
The good: Victoria Danann is an excellent writer. Her mastery and skill in creative writing is what kept me (and thousands of others) coming back for more. Each book has built upon the last with skill, despite baffling me here and there. But Danann has kept the threads tightly woven and I have really enjoyed that.
Then we get to this volume. I’m unhappy with it. First, in every book we are told in hard bold type, all caps, that reading the books in order is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Then in every single book Danann gives us a summary of every single book to date. That was annoying but I overlooked it (and skipped the summaries) because the books were that good.
But this volume not only includes the summaries of the last five books but it also has excerpts from the last five books, and the last book has an excerpt of 20 PAGES! Not acceptable! Of course, you clearly understand WHY when you realize that this is NOT A NOVEL This is a novella. The book begins on page 53!!! (Minus a few extra blank pages, inappropriately numbered). And so we get 180 pages to read for Book 6.
I hate to say this but it is a rip off for bibliophiles like me who hate ereaders. 180 pages?? That is but half of a normal book, folks. And it stings more because the story isn’t that great.
In all the previous volumes, Danann has put several stories together and blended them, seamlessly. This tale – of a Romeo and Juliet love story between an elf and a fairy (predictable? Yes) – is not only unoriginal but could have easily been added to a previous or future volume with the skill that I have seen Danann use. The last book was dynamic and this is just — dull. Well-written but ordinary. Even the story needed to be stretched by giving us an entire chapter of our male fairy planning his escape. The detail was needed to expand the 180 pages, obviously.
And so when a book disappoints and does so with unacceptable artiface, one notices the other things that are irritating but previously were overlooked. Like, the binding of the paperbacks is poor and does not hold up well with more than one read. The books are formatted for ebooks but in print, no effort has been made to make them look like a REAL book, ignoring acceptable formatting standards in front and back matter. And though I disliked this in ALL the print books, it was glaringly obvious in this volume with all the added excerpts which should not have been included.
All in all I am seriously disappointed in this book. The story is good enough because Danann can write. But the tale is unexceptional and would have been better served included in with another book.
I have always looked forward to the next book but I am hesitant about Book 7. If I didn’t already have it, I might not be eager to spend the money. I do have it though, so onward. My recommendation is get this in ebook and suffer through the extra “stuff.” And the formatting may not be an issue then either.
P.S. Note to author – with all the summaries and then the excerpts in this book, you definitely do NOT need to read the previous books to get the story.