Conspiracy and Action
TRAITOR'S WAR (#2 in the Metaframe War series)
by Graeme Rodaughan
Like the first book in the vampire series, “Traitor’s War” starts with a jumble of names and organizations and sub-organizations and their relationships. Having read the first book some months before, I managed to recall most of the characters and magic artifacts but I still had to literally sit down and make out a list with three headings for the three main organizations. Anyone not having read the first book would be utterly lost. This time, our hero Anton is less of the focus than in the previous book, but he is present for some long training sessions early on. Traditionally, training sessions are the most boring scenes in any book or movie. While not the worst I have read, those scenes are not nearly as interesting as what follows. There is a double agent, code-named the Raven within Anton’s group and we are not supposed to know who it is. That’s a clever idea. Some scenes are told from the Raven’s POV, and that’s great. But to hide the character’s gender from the reader, the author refers to the Raven in the plural. Using “they” and “their” every time the character is referenced is excruciating to the reader. The big action scene features a pitched battle with helicopter gunships and rocket launchers with nary a wooden stake or crucifix in sight! If that doesn’t get your blood rushing, you must be undead. The writing is good, but I did find a few misspellings and a couple confusing lines, but nothing very bad. Having American character’s say “bloody” in the sense an Englishman might, is a bit jarring but mostly amusing. Oh, and there’s no such thing as a “rusty Coke can”. This was a hard book to give a rating, as I wafted between three stars and four. The writing is good, the action is great, and the plot—with all the double-dealing and backstabbing—is clever. All that pushes for a four, possibly a five. On the other hand, I literally had to sit down and make up a chart to keep track of the characters and their connections. There is an unnamed character referred to in the plural—even in scenes where THEY interact with groups of other characters. Confusing, but mostly irritating. But I ultimately dropped the score for two simple reasons: this book had no beginning and it had no ending. The reader is thrown into the meanderings of twenty-six characters in the first chapter. Without memorizing the previous book in the series, no one will know who these people are or what the hell is going on. And the “ending” is a cliffhanger. If you want any resolution, you must read the next book. I’m hoping that book can stand on its own. Graeme Rodaughan is a talented writer and I really want to see where he’s going with all this.