by Mark Eller
This book is one of my favorite books I've read over the last year. It was detailed, captivating, and emotive.
In many ways, I am surprised I liked the book so much. It had many aspects that I normally dislike. The protagonist was not only an anti-hero, but in many ways, a clueless one. Despite this, he had an ability to attract women that would put Cyrano to shame. His ability to gain position and power were largely attributed by a bottomless purse that had nothing to do with him as a person. There was the constant parade of naked female bodies, yet an inability to consummate anything. The chief antagonist was some sort of super-villain with amazing powers, and the other baddies were oh so bad. The protagonist's sense of guilt was overwhelming.
These are all things that typically raise flags with me when reading. So why the five stars? Because, with one exception (that I will mention below), the author makes it all work. His skill with the written word is prodigious. I was pulled into the story, truly captivated. All those points that usually bother me in other books didn't bother me at all in this one. I was along for the ride and enjoying every minute of it. Everything seem to fit.
When I write that this book is detailed, that is an understatement. This is a long book, but it doesn't falter or drag. The pace remains quick.
Editing was good. I was not pulled out of the flow my typos and poor grammar.
The one part that jarred me, though, was the naked women/no sex aspect. This was slightly juvenile, unbelievable, and dragged on too long. This is probably my only criticism, though. As a whole, I really loved the book.
One thing I hate is when a protagonist enters into deadly combat with a much more powerful antagonist in a book's climax, he usually prevails due to some unbelievable slip up by the baddie or by the good guy simply fighting better. Authors build up the tension by building up the odds against the good guy, but they don't adequately explain how he overcame those odds.
In Traitor, the author has a "scientific" reason for Aaron's success, one that makes perfect sense given the book's universe. I didn't just have to accept his triumph as a literary sleight of hand, I could accept the logic and "rightness" of it.
END SPOILER ALERT
I should complain to the author, though. I read the book until 4 in the morning on two consecutive nights, wiping me out for work at 9. I just could not put it down.
This is a very good book, and I look forward to reading more of Aaron's story.
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