I have no excuse.
But I do have lots of explanations:
1. Almost bedtime and I didn’t want to start something meaningful/suspenseful.
2. Lingering doubt if my review for H&F #1 was excessively curmudgeonly?
3. The edition I borrowed was actually Books 1-3.
4. I really wanted a palate cleanser before diving into my next reads.
End result? H&F, book 2, is better than its predecessor. However, it still fails to work for me.
This time it is a straight-up guarding situation, where Hawk and Fisher and detailed to guard another Reform candidate–really, it is amazing anyone in the city of Haven bothers to fight the corrupt system. Once again, the first chapter is an action-packed conflict that appears to be largely resolved at the end.
Writing improved significantly except for–and I kid you not–almost identical paragraphs from book one describing Hawk and Fisher with maybe two word changes. Check for yourself, pages 4 and 176. Apparently, one is allowed to plagiarize themselves. But I did notice a definite improvement in creating mood and tension. However, Green thoughtfully tries to ratchet down any suspense by creating large info-dumps about politics in Haven, the conflict between the Conservatives and the Reform, and the ways this plays out on the streets. It is often of the awkward aside category, with Hawk pontificating and responses like “Hawk, I had no idea you were so interested in local politics” said, you know, his wife Fisher. But the local customs were amusing, with the tendency to erupt into knife fights, so there’s that.
Villain wasn’t concealed, and there are numerous points of view from him early on. I think they were supposed to show how awful and selfish he was, because they really didn’t increase suspense. There’s a mole who our highly trained Guards are unable to ferret out until they confess. A dead sorcerer is one of the most interesting things about the story, but sadly, the most neglected. And in true Green style, the ultimate confrontation comes when (view spoiler)
So far, the series reminds me of Lackey’s series The Oathbound, which I’d recommend over Hawk & Fisher any day. It’s the same general idea of mystery/conflict resolving in fantasy setting with much better pacing. While equally morally simplistic, writing is above average and characterization is better. Plus, sorceress and swordswoman who become besties.
Hawk & Fisher #1 review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…