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Dead Matter, by Anton Strout Book Review | SFReader.com
Dead Matter, by Anton Strout Genre: Modern/Urban Fantasy Publisher: Ace Published: 2009 Review Posted: 6/10/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Dead Matter, by Anton Strout
Book Review by Joshua Palmatier
Have you read this book?
I finished Dead Matter the other night and I have to say that
Anton Strout is definitely improving as a writer as this series
progresses. With the first book, I thought there were some "debut
book/new writer" issues (of which I suffered from myself with my books).
Mostly these were things like a little bouncing around and looseness
in the plot and a few odd emotional reactions from the characters.
Things like an extreme mood swing that wasn't properly motivated, etc.
In the second book, the plot issues smoothed out tremendously (although
there were a few bumps in the road), and the character things weren't so
extreme although I did think Simon Canderous, the main character, got
angry too often for extremely minor issues.
The third book is much more solid. The plot (involving vampires, but
not the expected way for an urban fantasy) was very straight forward
without any odd twists and turns. There were twists and turns, of
course, but they didn't feel thrown in. Everything happened for a
reason and for a purpose and the actions of the characters were dictated
by the plot, so there was no random "Simon goes here for no apparent
reason" kinds of things. (OK, there was ONE spot where I felt that
three scenes could have been accomplished in just two, but this is
minor.) As I said, the plot was tighter in the second, but it was MUCH
tighter and fluid in Dead Matter.
But what really impressed me most about this third book was the
advancement in the characterizations. The beginning of the book focuses
in on Simon and his relationship with his partner Connor. This is what
drives the plot forward at first. We also deal with Simon and Jane's
relationship. These relationships aren't necessarily complex, but the
plot depends on them, whereas in the past two novels the plot didn't.
Simon gets angry here, again, but not as extreme and his reasons for
getting angry make sense (again, there are one or two places where this
slips, but those are rare). This improvement in characterization
doesn't just apply to Simon, Connor, and Jane either. The main conflict
comes down to one of the Enchancellers named Allorah, and her back
story and emotional state are integral to the plot.
In addition, this book has some significant connections to what happened
in the second book. So overall, the characters and the plots are
getting much more complex, and the writing itself is improving
dramatically in each book. I'm looking forward to the fourth novel, Dead Waters, coming at the end of February.
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