“Absence 1: Whispers and Shadows” by J. B. Forsyth

I find this book difficult to review because while I really enjoyed the story, I found the writing frustrating. Let me explain. This is not a standalone book nor one of a series. It is a continuing serial laid out like a series of short stories with different main characters, all moving together through the same main plotline. The constant shifts to a new point of view require a mental reset, and the necessity of explaining the new setting and characters each time gets in the way of our enjoyment of the story. Worse, the tale comes to a halt in the middle of the action of the last story, requiring that you buy the next book in order to find out what happens.

Likewise, the writing style needs cleaning up and polishing, being filled with too much description, both of settings and minute details of action, that slow down the pace to a frustrating crawl at times.

Having stated my complaints, I must say that the characters are realistic and sympathetic, and the conflicts are compelling. I found myself reading well past my usual bedtime without realizing it. The setting descriptions are creative and appropriate to the conflict, just rather out of control.

Recommended for Fantasy fans who like highly detailed settings and aren’t overly concerned with polished writing.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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