Well, it’s been a hot minute since I read a book, let alone wrote a book review. I was really excited to read Banebringer by Carol A. Park, as I’ve heard great things from the self-pub community and I adore the author. Unfortunately, I finally caved and allowed it to become my first DNF of the year.
Publisher: Self-Published | Release Date: April 2018 | Pages: 596
Age Range: Adult | Genre: Fantasy | Format: Paperback | Source: Gift
Banebringers. Source of the bloodbane who stalk the land. Cause of a thousand wrongs. Despised. Cast out. Hunted.
Vaughn never asked for the powers of a long-forgotten moon goddess. But rarely do the gods give humans a choice when using them in their machinations. Now Vaughn is a Banebringer, loathed by all who discover his true identity—even his father, a man obsessed with his own power and bent on destroying Vaughn’s miserable life.
Vaughn is desperate to end his father before the madman ends him. But to do so he’ll need the skills of Ivana, a vindictive assassin with her own scores to settle. The only question is whether Vaughn can keep himself from becoming another of her targets long enough to see his father eliminated.
On the Page
- Building collapse
- Abusive relationships
- Blood and gore
Content warnings are written up by me, unless specified. Subject to being an incomplete list, though guided by referencing this list and trying to highlight as many as I can identify.
- Sweetblade and her fire. By far my favorite aspect of the book, from what I read. I love how she refused to put up with any shit. I also loved her hinted-at complexity and wish we could have seen more of that unveiled. I really wish I could see more time and interactions with just her: working at the inn juxtaposed to her being an assassin.
- Pacing. This was was very slow, to me. I’ve been having that complaint about quite a few books lately, which makes me wonder if it’s actually me right now. But, one of the main reasons I put this book down is that the things I wanted to get to felt like we weren’t getting to those points any time soon and I just wasn’t excited to pick up the book anymore.
- Repetition. There’s a lot of repetition of information, especially with Vaughn’s chapters. I would always fly through Sweetblade’s chapters, but Vaughn’s always felt like a challenge. And the continued the hinting at Sweetblade’s “secret” (more below) definitely started to bog it down.
- Vaughn. The second main reason I put this book down. Vaughn’s incompetence was just infuriating. He as a character was a mix of a ladies man who didn’t hesitate to charm and sleep with any woman who moved and a person who had complex issues with his relationship with his father; it felt like we spent much more time with the former than the latter, with the latter being much more interesting.
- Timing of “reveals”. This ties much more directly with Sweetblade, who basically has an event that happened to her that was very character-defining, yet it’s not clear to the readers exactly what happened. This was frustrating because it’s set up as going to be this major reveal (especially to Vaughn), yet we as readers don’t have a clear understanding of it, just constant hinting. And I just became frustrated at being strung along.
This is going to receive no rating from me, since I DNFed @ 63%. I usually do rate books even that I don’t finish, because I have a clear feeling of what that rating should be. But I don’t for this book. During the bits I enjoyed, it felt like a solid 3 gem read. Yet, in many other moments, I leaned towards the 2 or 2.5 range. So, it didn’t feel fair to give it a rating when I can’t decide what that rating should be.
I wish I had better news to report, because Banebringer is a book I’ve been excited to read for a while. But, I think in part why I didn’t read at all last month was because I was trying to convince myself to pick this back up and I…had just lost interest, frankly. However, I don’t think this will be the last Carol A. Park book I read. I really enjoy interacting with her online and I think I am very much an outlier in not enjoying this book (plus, I want to continue to support her and her career as a writer). I highly encourage everyone to check this out and prove this to be a “it’s just me” case.