Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Drowned Vault

by N. D. Wilson

Grade: 3 stars
Story summary: Sequel to The Dragon's Tooth. Cyrus and Antigone Smith now have a whole lot of powerful immortal people really mad at them. So that's good. And now they have to run away from their previous haven of safety to find the guy who almost killed them last time. And everybody's chasing them, and they still have to keep up their training, and there's a girl with lots of creepy spiders who's supposed to be helping them.

Thoughts: Wilson's visual imagination can be absolutely stunning. The gorgeous cover art is perfectly suitable, what with the pretty colours and the strange happenings (man with tons of hair chained over a sword, all underwater?) But for me at least, this book went the way of his 100 Cupboards series. The first book wowed me with it's imagery and imagination, but not enough happened with the characters. They were very interesting characters with lots of potential, mind you. They just didn't live up to that potential in the second books of both series. Really cool people like Nolan and Di were just sort of there throughout the whole adventure. They didn't even have much to do with the plot, let alone the character development.

But while I never ended up reading the third book in the 100 Cupboards series, I will still definitely read the third book in this series (assuming there is going to be one). For one thing, I really like the ideas in these books, like the Order of Brendan. I want to see where he goes with that. I'm also still hoping it's just a middle book thing, and the characters will still develop further. Because they really are cool. (Especially, in this book, Arachne. Her imagery was so creepy and fascinating.)


Petra said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this book very much! I am a huge fan of N.D. Wilson and have avidly been awaiting a chance to get my hands on The Drowned Vault. Even though I love the 100 Cupboards trilogy, I thought The Dragon's Tooth really showed a marked improvement in Wilson's writing ability and I want to see where he takes this new series.

One of the things I really love about Wilson is that he doesn't shy away from horrific events, things that some people might not find suitable for children. The realism of the violence in The Chestnut King solidified my respect for him. Some of the plot elements were perhaps cliche and wrapped things up too neatly, but the fact that he recognizes that children can deal with difficult subjects made me forgive him. He wasn't graphic or gory, but he didn't pretend that adventures are clean affairs.

But thank you for your honest review. I'll have to read the book and see if I agree. :D

RED said...

Thanks for the comment! I do agree with you about Wilson's writing. And I love his visual descriptions.

With books like this, I always have the feeling that it was more my fault than the author's. In this case, I might be mostly right. My life is quite busy and somewhat stressful at this moment, and that always has an impact on how I enjoy the books I read. So in other words, you shouldn't start reading it worried that it might not be great. You'll probably really like it. :)

Although I definitely AM legitimately disappointed that some of the characters (Nolan and Diana, mostly) weren't used more.