Etched in Bone (Maker's Song Series #4)

Etched in Bone (The Maker's Song) - Adrian Phoenix Dante has managed to wrest Lucien free from Gehenna and from the control of the Fallen – albeit while growing a set of wings in the process. But he is far from free of them as they demand a promise from him to return while they plot about how best to control him.Things are not calmer on Earth as more and more of his enemies – a variety of rogue FBI and Shadow Branch Agents – manoeuver to find a way to bring him down or turn him into a tool. All the while he is still trying to control his broken mind, suffering from flashbacks, seizures and agonising pain.But he has no time to heal – the local vampire boss, Mauvais has killed someone they care about and must be made to pay while the vampire factions also look to tie their own puppet strings on Dante.Even Heather’s father is in town, with his own plans to ruin what life they’re trying to build.There is a problem when it comes to reviewing series. The problem is that an author is (usually) unlikely to massively change their style. They’ll probably grow and change as a writer as the series progresses, but the fundamental nature of their writing usually remains somewhat the same.Which means, as a reviewer, I run the risk of broken record syndrome. The same issues I have with book 1 are the same issues I have with book 2 and on to book 3 and, behold, the same issues arise again.And so, here I am reading book 4 of the Maker’s Song series and, guess what? The same issues that have dogged the other books are still there. I’m sure you’re all shocked to hear that.The characters are moving together and pairing off when their agendas are close – so we have Gillespie and Rutgers working together, we have Emmet and Merri joining the main gang, Underwood being derailed – a few of the lines are coming together or being snipped. ExcellentBut more are being introduced – we now have another faction entirely, seeming to be pissed off, mind controlling Teodoro Dion (another new character, yay!) who really really hates the Fallen and is going to hurt Dante because that’ll show ‘em all! And then there’s Heather and Annie’s father who is running around with his own perverse ideas of putting their family back together again.I have to say, again, that none of these storylines are bad.The FBI/Shadow Branch tracking down Dante and torn between killing him, imprisoning him or monitoring him with the odd rogue agent along the side? It’s a great story and the characters are fascinating and really work well.The Angels with their plotting for control and who gets to put the leash on Dante? Excellent storyline.The vampire factions – both local and the grand global councils and circles all vying to see who can attach their strings to Dante? Great! I love this story.But put them all together and then throw in Heather’s father, some more random rogue agents and Dion on an apparent revenge kick backed with Underwood’s quest to kill her daughter-in-law for killing her son, then there’s Von in trouble for being a naughty Ilygad –he’s supposed to be an independent observer and reporter and is now in trouble… and there’s far too much going on. The sheer number of characters, storylines and plots means, even with them all being pretty decent in isolation, that none of them can really advance in any real, meaningful way. The whole book covers 3 days of activities because we have to see what everyone is doing, everywhere .It doesn’t help that it’s also terribly long winded. In the first book I called the writing gloriously gothic – and it was. But that gothic feeling has been eroded by the sheer number of people and the larger scale of the book. without that theme, it just feels repetitive. Dante’s beautiful, we get it. Heather’s worried about him. Various figures are angsting. We have a lot of descriptiveness, a lot of attempts to set the scene which involves overly long depictions of eating dinner or feeding pigeons or describing what people are wearing. Drop in some Cajun French, some Spanish, some Italian and some random-not!Welsh Elohim words and it’s a long long read. And we have a fair amount of recapping squeezed in there as well with extra bonus of Dante’s loose grasp of reality and constant flashbacks.It further doesn’t help that the storylines that emerge as dominant – Heather’s father, Mauvais, the local vampire boss having a tantrum – are the ones that are probably the least important in the grand scheme of the series. The major players are still dancing around the periphery of the storyline while we’re concentrating on the elements that are probably the most skippable. Apart from anything else, they’re the elements that don’t know a thing about Dante’s powers so are only 2 minutes away from him having an unfortunate flashback and turning them into goo or merging them into a holy-chanting-chimera-thing (again).Read More