Saturday, 26 May 2007

Atlantis Rising by Alyssa Day

SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW

Conlan is the high prince of Atlantis. After being captured and tortured by Anubisa the vampire queen for seven years he has finally returned home. Only to find that Poseidon's Trident has been stolen and he must reclaim it. Riley Dawson (an empathic social worker) gets caught in between the vampires and Conlan's Atlantean Warriors. She and Conlan are drawn towards one another, but Conlan must remain loyal to Atlantis and Riley is human.

Hmmmm. I made a big slip up with this book. I believed all the hype that was going round various message boards about it and didn't do my usual amount of research.

It's bad.

If you're buying this from a book shop I urge you to read the first few pages and you should know instantly whether or not it's your sort of thing. It's generally not a good sign when within the first two pages I am already editing the text - and unfortunately this continues throughout the book. Example - in Atlantis Rising no-one gets angry, or mad, or upset, they always 'feel fury'.

Riley is another TSTL heroine. Always speaking before she thinks, and worse sometimes acting before her brain is out of park. The two examples that stick most firmly in my mind are when on p66 she's musing about how she and her sister Quinn are like twins - "ten months apart was close enough to be almost twins". Well no it's not, not unless your mother had the longest pregnancy on record. And once we meet Quinn it quickly becomes clear that Riley doesn't know her sister at all, which makes her 'twins' statement even more ridiculous.

And later when she and her guards are hiding in a safe house from the bad guys she insists on opening the door - because it's only the pizza delivery guy. Duh!

Both she and Conlan are so two-dimensional, that you just don't care about them at all. Conlan has been viciously tortured for seven years by the vampire queen. The only reason you're aware it's happened is because every so often he either tells someone, or somebody else mentions it.

To go with our two-dimensional hero and heroine we have a 2-d villain. Anubisa chews the scenery, kills her minions and is appalling. But I don't care because I don't understand why she is that way - she just is.

The first hundred pages or so are all about Conlan and Riley and they are really hard to get through. Conlan has a tendency to go on about Riley's purity. Because there is little emotional connection to these characters when horrific things happen to them it doesn't horrify. At one point Riley says she feels like she is trapped in a B-movie, and that's a pretty good summation of the book.

After the other Warriors turn up there is an improvement in the storyline, mainly because the other Warriors are far more interesting than either Conlan or Riley. How I wish the book had been about them, with Riley and Conlan as a sub-plot.

During the final confrontation when I have forgiven some of this (because the other characters are written quite well) - Riley yelling "Stay away from my boyfriend!" along with Conlan's "Die you foul hellspawn!" Just makes me want to throw the book at the wall.

I'd read on Amazon that this was an original approach. It isn't. I'm not saying it isn't coming at the Warrior mythology from another angle because I think different writers tackle things in a variety of ways. But does this sound familiar - there are seven warriors, one has been horrifically tortured for many years and is scarred, one is good with computers, one has no emotions? Though it does make a change for the badass warrior to have a name beginning with A rather than Z.

The frustrating thing is that it isn't all bad. There are flashes of humour between the characters that made me smile. And some of the interactions between the Warriors are very well written - especially Denal, Bastien and Brennan. The problem is that Conlan and Riley should be the most interesting thing in the story and they aren't. There is a good story here, but it's too much hard work to find it. Atlantis Rising could have done with being gutted and re-edited before release.

4 comments:

Nicole said...

Yikes. I'd never heard of that one, but it certainly doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Thanks for the review!

jepad said...

Lesley....I didn't even know you HAD a blog. Bad, jepad, BAD!!

Bless you for the review. That sounds like I wouldn't have made it more than ten pages in before throwing it against the wall.

The market does seem to be flooded with these 2-D characters, TSTL heroines, and gobs of tortured hero pathos. Not many can do a convincing tortured male, but it doesn't stop them from trying.

LesleyW said...

Jepad - LOL, lovely to see you here. I think I have the WWW symbol at the bottom of my posts on the message boards I visit, but I haven't really advertised that I have one.

Naomi said...

I read Day's entry in the Wild Thing anthology and found it passably entertaining, if somewhat irritating. I hated the dialogue the warriors had. Half the time it was "yo, dude!", the rest of the time it was all, "for sooth, gently maid." I did like that her vampires weren't dreary, tortured romantics.

I can't say I was impressed enough to pick up this book, and your review confirms my feelings.