Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Vengeance Vengeance
by Ian Irvine

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jo Toon

Vengeance tells the tale of a young slave, Tali, who witnesses her mother's murder, and grows up to learn that she is The One who can change her people's destiny. Rix is a lord who as a child also saw the murder and, though he can't now consciously remember it, is haunted by the nightmares of that day. They must learn of the motives behind the murder and work together to prevent disaster from destroying both the slave race and Rix's people.

Vengeance has all the elements which make up a typical fantasy; it is the first part of a series (The Tainted Realm), the plot line is fairly standard, and magic (cunningly termed "magery") and monsters abound. Sadly there was something about this which failed to hook me in, which for me was very disappointing, as this is the type of book which I normally devour. When I first picked it up, I even forgot that I had started reading it!

It took me a long while to put my finger on what didn't work for me. There was the, quite frankly irritating, habit of making up new words for every day items, and then italicising them to emphasise that the word is different, when the context certainly didn't need an emphasis ("They synchronised their chronos"). The pacing, on the whole, was good. There were a few moments which could probably have been cut down a bit, but generally, the story moved on without becoming dull, and without too many deus ex machinas. One character did seem to die in quite specatular ways and then come back a few more times than is usual - I did decide that even if he was beheaded, he'd find a way to be written back in to the story!

It wasn't so much that the characters were unlikeable, but flat. They never really came to life for me, which I think is the heart of the matter. They never really obtained that three dimensionality which took them off the printed page and made me wonder what was happening to them whilst I wasn't reading the book.

This is a real shame because, just towards the end, it did become a page turner, but it was really too little, too late. I got to the final pages, and, because this is the first part of the series, I don't think there are any spoilers in saying that all of the main characters are in mortal peril, I was not left with any real desire to find out if or how they will overcome the latest setback to their fortunes.

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