The Restless Shore by James P. Davis
Posted by travizzt on December 28, 2009
The Restless Shore by James P. Davis- This is the second book in The Wilds series of stand-alone novels set in the Forgotten Realms universe. The first novel is The Fanged Crown by Jenna Helland, the third novel is Edge of Chaos by Jak Koke, and Wrath of the Blue Lady by Mel Odom is the last. James P. Davis has written a few other novels, all set within the Forgotten Realms. They are Bloodwalk, The Shield of Weeping Ghosts, Circle of Skulls (Due out in May 2009), and has written a short story entitled “Possessions” which is found in Realms of The Dragons II anthology.
The story follows a woman on the hunt to find her kidnapped twin sister. A group of creatures called The Choir came and kidnapped the sister. Ghaelya, a genasi (which is a cross between a human and an elemental genie), is the woman in search of her sister. She comes across a half-elf named Brindani, who tells her that he knows someone who could help her find and save her sister. A man named Uthalion, a former captain of a military force called The Keepers of the Cerulean Sign, is that someone because of his knowledge of the surrounding lands. Along with Uthalion, a killoren (which I have yet to know what they are) named Vaasurri comes along and helps the hunt. The group has to cross dangerous plagueland (caused by the “blue-fire” of the Spellplague, which corrupted land and creatures with its touch), deal with personal problems, and are constantly hounded by wolf-like creatures called Dreamers and their masters, The Choir. Will Ghaelya find and save her sister?
1) Pacing. It’s terribly slow. So slow that at times I just felt bored when reading. It seemed that nothing really helped in “picking up” the pace. The fight scenes seemed to last too long, the descriptions felt like they lasted forever, and the dialogue just felt slow and clunky. For what the story is really supposed to be about, you would expect it to be fast and exciting.
2) Dialogue. The conversation between characters really felt forced. It didn’t help that everything seemed to be overly serious and important. I never really felt any sort of connection between the characters, except for the ones that had to be explained. They just felt like a bunch of random people coming together to do something. Not to mention that the dialogue at times didn’t seem to fit the actions that were going on.
3) Past/ Present/ Dream-lines Blurred. Only in the beginning you know when one thing happened and there was acknowledgment of the past and present. However, the rest of the story is a confusing mess. The man characters of Ghaelya, Uthalion, and Brindani always seem to dream at some random points and it really blurred the line between reality and dreams. I know what you are thinking, maybe it’s meant to be that way, and I wholeheartedly agree. However, this was just done poorly. There never was a solid transition between these “scenes.” They just appeared. For example, the group was walking and suddenly Ghaelya is dreaming. I should mention that it isn’t day-dreaming. It really just confused me as why suddenly Ghaelya is hearing her sister’s voice and seeing these red flowers when they are in some abandoned farmstead. It was just sloppy.
1) Ghaelya and Brindani. These were the only really interesting characters. Ghaelya with her utter determination to find and rescue her obviously dead sister. She never really takes no for an answer. Her determination and gritty attitude really set her part from Uthalion’s bland, generic-ness and Vaasurri’s ability to just be there. However, toward the end, she becomes weaker, for lack of a better term. But, I can attribute this to the felt that she starts believing her sister is gone.Then you have Brindani. At first glance you see a generic boring soldier who doesn’t seem to be any more interesting as Uthalion. However it’s slowly revealed that there is a deep, disturbing nature to him. I can’t give what makes him interesting away without ruining it. Needless to say, Brindani becomes more and more interesting as the story progresses.
2) Dreams. Now I know a negative I mentioned is the line between reality and dreams are really blurred. But that doesn’t take away the utter awesomeness of them. They really do have the dream-like feel to them. They are just so well down and creepy at times that you just can’t help to be a little frightened or freaked out. The best one is one that Ghaelya has when she is in the abandoned farmstead. Utterly brilliant and creepy. However, later one they get buried in confusion and just a lack of imagination. But just the one dream sequence is worth a positive.
3) Descriptions. Yet again, I know I mentioned that the descriptions felt to long and drug down the pacing and flow, however, because of the long-winded descriptions, they are very vivid. For example, The Choir are just described to make them utterly creepy and alien. The surrounding area, the wilds, and other creatures are the same way. So alien yet written in a way to almost picture the oddness of these things. I say almost because somethings, mostly the Dreamer’s, don’t have a good description. James P. Davis does do a great job at describing things.
1) Genasi/ Killoren. I’ve read a few stories that involved genasi, and I thought that they could only be one elemental type. Yet Ghaelya’s birth element (I guess I’ll call it that) is fire, yet later she became a water genasi. I didn’t think that made much sense, seeing as it’s basically a total change of oneself, almost like an elf turning into a half-elf. Yet research has proved that genasi can master two elements. It just confused me. Then you have the killoren. What exactly are they? There wasn’t any real background given and I’m unable to find anything about them.
2) Horror Fantasy? After reading this, it occurred to me that this is a really dark story. It’s feels like it’s bordering on horror.
3) Cover Art. It’s interesting, to say the least. The floating mountains sure catch the eye but other than that it’s a little to dark and bland.
This story barely makes a 3 out of 5. The pacing is just to slow and it left me with the feeling of not wanting to read it. Like I mentioned, for a “chase” story, it’s too slow when it should be fast paced. The dialogue is overly serious, which would be okay if it flowed well, it didn’t. The characters, for the most part, are bland and plain. With the exception being Ghaelya and Brindani, the characters are, for the most part, run of the mill. Even those two slowly become more and more plain as we reach the ending. However, most of the early dream sequences are just amazingly disturbing. While the descriptions may case the story to drag on, they really do help in painting a wonderful picture.