Wrath of the Blue Lady by Mel Odom
Posted by travizzt on January 20, 2010
Wrath of the Blue Lady by Mel Odom
This is the fourth and last 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 second novel is The Restless Shore by James P. Davis, and the third novel is The Edge of Chaos by Jak Koke. Mel Odom has written a vast array of novels set in different settings and genres, but his Forgotten Realms work includes; The Threat from the Sea trilogy (Rising Tide, Under the Fallen Stars, and The Sea Devil’s Eye, in that order), The Lost Libraries of Cormanthyr, The Jewel of Turmish, and he has short stories in Realms of the Deep and Realms of War anthologies.
The story follows a father and son looking to recover long-lost books containing knowledge that, if in the wrong hands, could wreak havoc. The son, a half-elf monk by the name Shang-Li, and the father, whose name is Kwan Yung, are attempting to find a book that was lost at sea that could tell them where the long-lost books could be. We also learn, that a fey creature referred to the Blue Lady has these books but is unable to translate them. In order to translate them, she seeks out others with the knowledge and ability to do so, at the price of destroying ships. She wants to knowledge of these books so that she can return to her homeland and exact revenge on those who imprisoned her under the Sea of Fallen Stars. She discovers that Shang-Li may have the knowledge and skill to translate these books and slowly lures him into her territory. In order to get the books back and into safe hands, Shang-Li and his father, set out to recover the books.
1) Cliffhanging Chapters. There are times in which having a cliffhanger is wonderful. These times usually are generally separated by another scene or are pick up after a few pages, causing them to build up excitement. Then there is the chapter endings in Wrath of the Blue Lady. It seems that most of the chapter’s end in a boring cliffhanger that is directly resumed on the next page. No suspense, no excitement is gain and it gets old fast. I don’t know how many times I had to suffer with reading that Shang-Li sees a blade, only to read on the next page that he shifted to his left. It doesn’t build up anything and it kind of halts the pacing and flowing nature of the story.
2) Flowing Scenes. Many scenes don’t really fit together. Most of the action scenes for examples seem rigid and confusing. Then there is the pointless dialogue inserted here and there, and it causes some scenes to drag on longer than they should have. When you read a scene, you kind of expect it to flow without any random jumps or interruptions. Here however, there is either a time jump or an odd interruption. For example, late in the story, Shang-Li is getting treated for an injury and his father is talking to him. It’s a nice conversation when, BAM!, two hours later. Yes the conversation seemed finished but it just was a sudden jump in time. There just were to many things that hampered the flow.
3) “Dragging On.” Towards the end, the chapters really drag on. The focus is on the crew of the ship repairing it, waiting to see what the Blue Lady does. This goes on for the better part of five or more chapters. Just waiting. What makes everything worse is the Blue Lady lets them fix up their ship. She even visits Shang-Li and continually threaten him about how if he doesn’t help, his friends and father will die. It just drags on so long with almost no action or suspense. Then later you get the weak excuse that the Blue Lady was waiting for a full moon. It felt slow, and it was boring.
1) Shang-Li and Kwan Yung. At first, their dialogue between them didn’t really flow to well and felt rigid and forced. As the story progresses, you start to see how their relationship is and you begin to understand certain things about them, which explains the awkward dialogue between them. Their interactions between one another are really well written.
2) Minor Characters. Most of these characters aren’t introduced until the middle of the story, which is a shame. You have the friends of Shang-Li and the ship’s mage are the interesting. Shang-Li’s friends, Thava and Iados, are two very intriguing characters that really worked well off one another when we first meet them. Thava is a dragonborn paladin whose sense of charity really annoys Iados, a tiefling, because of his love of money. Then we meet the ship’s mage, Amree, who becomes a ‘love interest’ to Shang-Li. While she starts to kind of fizzle out towards the end, the scenes featuring her are interesting. While it’s a shame that the minor characters get relatively little ‘scene time’, they did make a great impression on my mind.
3) Concept. The concept itself was interesting. Having a goddess-like being trapped under the sea, having to resort to using ‘manlings’ to help her live her imprisonment, and the undersea world were pretty different. It was just interesting to see this powerful being forced to wait with her only escape with her, but unable to use it. Then the distorted undersea landscape, with everything a danger, was different, in a good way.
1) The Blue Lady. She’s called the Blue Lady throughout the story but every once in a while her name appears. At first, when I saw this it really confused me, thinking that there is another character that we have yet to meet. But that wasn’t the case. I just didn’t understand why should we know her name?
2) Blue Ink Stain. Early on, Shang-Li gets a stain that someway connects him to the Blue Lady. However, right after that, we never really hear of it again. Why?
3) Cover Art. I don’t really care for the art. It’s a little bland and generic, like most of The Wilds art work was like. But a giant squid wrapping around a woman seems like something you’d see on a 50’s b-movie poster. It’s just boring.
The big issues are the problems with the flow and pacing and the dumb cliffhanger chapter endings. It slows the story down and quite honestly, I did get bored with it many times. Things dragged on longer than they should have and that didn’t help anything. However, the father-son relationship I really enjoyed, along with Shang-Li’s friends, and the concept was interesting.