Thread Slivers by Leeland Artra
This is one of those books I had many mixed feelings about. I liked the main characters Ticca and Lebuin. There’s clearly a lot of detail that went into the world-building, but it was too much of a good thing. It was, as if to make up for the other characters being uninteresting or to introduce the ‘epic’ part of epic fantasy earlier in the story, Artra added 800 POVs to this story. They’re all unnecessary. Finding a way to introduce plot elements while maintaining the focus completely on Ticca and Lebuin would’ve improved the pacing of this story, even if it would’ve made it shorter. I skimmed through everything else because the level I cared was ‘meh’.
When you manage to make a giant, immortal wolf general boring, your story has a problem.
There is initially a lot to like about Thread Slivers. Ticca is a Dagger, a warrior for hire, and she is tasked with solving the mystery of who killed a powerful mage while protecting another mage, Lebuin, from the Knives that want to murder him, too. Lebuin thinks another mage, Magnus Cune, at the guild wants him murdered, which is a fairly safe assumption seeing how the two act together. It becomes clear that there’s something more–much more–going on around these two, and it was a fine little mystery as to what that plot was. There’s a hint of time travel and some sci-fi/fantasy blending, which is a theme that I’ve read in other books and like a lot. This plot is clearly being saved for later, and it feels like a lot of interesting plot elements are being saved for later. And not in a good way, either.
But when we do get answers, they kind of suck. This isn’t because the plot wasn’t cool (time travel! immortal warlords! lost magic! special bloodlines!) but because we find out all of these things from characters that have never met the main characters or have only met the main characters tangentially. These characters all revolves around Duke, and he monopolizes like a third of this story and made every moment suck because he’s conceptually awesome without doing anything for emotional aspects of this story. He has no POV chapters himself, but all of these boring characters that interact with him get special chapters. This is the real problem in this story–all the major plot twists are doled out several chapters before the main characters even get a hint of what they are. Ticca and Lebuin feel like footnotes in what should be their own story.
When we do get back to Ticca and Lebuin, who are journeying to collect the mage’s things in hopes of finding clues to his death, we’re treated to the most annoying character in the novel–Klaisa. She sucks. She’s bland, and she appears in Lebuin and Ticca’s dreams to info dump. She tells them things we’ve already known for some time, and if her appearance weren’t supposed to be This Big Thing at the end, maybe I could’ve tolerated her. But I couldn’t. She was The Worst. She was the final distraction in a novel that unraveled from a strong first half.
And cliffhangers only work if you care about the ending.
Rating: 3 stars and only because I liked Lebuin, Ticca, and the details around those characters.