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We all have our vices; mine just so happens to be trashy wish-fulfillment power fantasy e-books with harem elements.
So, it was a bit surprising that the first book in this series was actually rather high-brow and well-written for that particular brand of novel. It wasn't Shakespeare, but it at least threw itself behind a relatively complex set of characters and subplots, and if not for the fact that it's basically the only place you really see polyamorous relationships in fiction, you could almost forget that you were reading a porn book for long stretches of time. He also tried really hard with all the metaphysics and deeper themes!
The writer also had a knack for action and horror scenes, nicely complementing the character writing. I'd almost recommend it, depending on your tolerance for the Classical Anti-Hero who's got growing to do, a mold into which almost all the protagonists fit.
I bring all this up because... well, the second book doesn't jettison that, but it's a book philosophically themed around being obstructed, held up, and otherwise bogged down from making forward progress, and you feel it every step of the way.
I haven't finished it yet, because I'm a little over a quarter of the way in, and the fact that a very particular character is going to be a bad guy is way, way too obvious. Especially given how much of the book there is to go. Coming here confirmed my worst suspicions, namely, that the red flags he was throwing up were 100% real, and that it's going to get worse long before it gets better.
I can't deny the striking imagery of a world with no biosphere right out of The Road, or the still-strong character writing, but... Well, I'll have to build up a big head of steam to push through this miasma.
Maybe, if this twist were more subtle, more slowly laid out, I wouldn't be here, writing this... but it really isn't! And, again, this trope page has me sighing at the three-quarters of a book I still have to go before the characters see the red flags I do.
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