A review by marklpotter
The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams


I enjoyed The Copper Promise a lot but it wasn't a light read. The Iron Ghost took me even longer and I couldn't figure out why until close to the end. It's children, there are too many children hurt or injured for the sake of the plot. I understand that war kills off families and all of that but this seemed to be just for the sake of making the reader truly hate Bezcavar, who was infinitely hate-able to begin with. This is a dark series and that usually appeals to me, I've been singing Abercrombie's praises for years, but I think that the lengths Williams goes to in this book, to make the reader react in the desired manner, moves from necessary to the plot in to shock jock territory.

That said, I did keep picking the book back up and I kept reading it and in my opinion that shows that the story itself is well written, the plot development well paced, and the main characters relate-able. The writing itself suffers a little in that the flashback scenes aren't well defined and the perspective shifts can be a little jarring but overall that didn't take away from a well executed story but it did move my rating from four stars to three.

With Frith, Williams did seem to take the easy way out. What I mean is that it seems that a mistake was made by making him too powerful to continue as a character and the method she uses to deal with that seems contrived and seems like a redux of the way it was dealt with when it looked like Sebastian was going to have the same problem in The Copper Promise.

Overall this is a solid three and I will read whatever comes next from Jen Williams but I'll go in knowing that she writes dark and sometimes goes over the top to prove how evil someone can be. I don't mind the tropes she employs, everything is a trope these days, and her actual writing is pretty good. I think that she will develop more and I expect that things like perspective shifts will become more smooth as she continues to develop her writing style.