WARNING: Contains spoilers
Whenever I review a book, I come at it from an editorial perspective because I’m a medical editor and the habit’s ingrained. If the editing’s poor, it’ll jerk me right out of the book, and if the problems are irritating enough, they taint the entire book for me. Unfortunately, Bronze Gods
fell into the badly edited category, so before I talk about the story line I must indulge in a short rant! (For those who prefer to remain rant free, skip the next paragraph.)
Ellipses are effective if they aren’t overused. The authors were so enamored of this little piece of punctuation that the narrative and dialogue seemed asthmatic, the ellipses serving as a wheeze between words as if the story were gasping for breath. In one case, five sentences in a row carried the punctuation, and I estimate that in the 322-page book there were no fewer than 1,200 instances of the mark. Yikes. In addition, it had erroneous subjunctive use and incorrect (or careless) word use, such as “Broken shards sliced her palms….” Shards are by definition part of a whole and came from something that was broken. Also annoying was the ad nauseam use of the adjective “endless,” among others. These are only some of the problems throughout the book.
Now for the guts. (Admittedly, my criticisms are magnified by my exasperation with the bad editing.) The writing was fair at best. I got the sense that the authors were trying for edgy, but they fell short and ended up with thin, flat characterization. The characters never engaged me; at the beginning of the book, we learn that Mikani is a self-medicating alcohol abuser and womanizer and that his partner, Ritsuko, is clawing her way up the ladder in a man’s world. By the end of the book, we know little more than that about them.
There wasn’t much suspense other than the sexual tension between the main characters. Who the killer was after was no mystery. The only unknown was the details of why he stalked his victims. And in a rather deus ex machina move, at the climax of the story the authors throw in a twin for the man suspected of being the murderous mastermind, which--surprise, surprise--exonerates him.
The world the authors created was interesting enough, but it was my first steampunk novel so I can’t comment on whether it was original.
Again, I could have overlooked some of the deficiencies had the book undergone a rigorous editing.