Poisoned in Light by Ben Alderson Book Review

Ratings

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Content Warnings: Violence, War, Death, Manipulation

Introduction

Poisoned in Light is the third, and final, installment to Ben Alderson’s Dragori series. We join Zacriah again as he and his friends try to navigate the chaos the Druid has created. Their ultimate goal: destroying the Druid and returning peace back to the world. However, this comes  at a steep price. Can Zacriah and friends do what it takes to bring down the Druid once and for all?

I would also like to preface this review by stating that I skimmed/skipped the last 50% of the book– only reading the final 3 chapters and epilogue. The concept was enticing, but the story telling was so bland and flat that I couldn’t get into the book at all, unlike the previous two.

Pros

  • Starts right after the previous book
  • Interesting concepts and ideas

Cons

  • No map
  • Info dumping
  • Repetitive narrative
  • Slow story progression

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot

While the plot was solid and full of promise, it was not executed well. It was rather dull and I had to force myself to read the book. In the end, I ended up skimming aggressively from chapter 30 on. I still got the gist of what happened, too.

Although I skimmed, the pacing was consistent. Throughout the entire book, there was always something happening to progress the plot, which is great! However, it was lackluster in the delivery and the characters were rather flat, making for a difficult read. 

Also, there were so many tiny plot points with so much detail that they became convoluted. There was just so much time spent on minor events which lead to the lackluster delivery we discussed in the previous paragraph. 

Some of these examples are: 

  • The beginning half of Zac being in Lilloria
  • The sea sickness scenes were chapters long
  • Zac’s repetitive self-pity parties
  • The New Council meetings/conflicts

Then, the highly anticipated sex scene between Zariah and Hadrian was so disappointing and anti-climatic. It was sudden and rushed and really could have been removed altogether because of how it was set up. 

I mean, the entire thing was like 2 pages, but yet other minute events are chapters long. I was looking forward to that moment with them and was sorely let down.

Can we also talk about the build-up of Petrer playing a bigger role in this book at the beginning, but it ultimately leads to nothing? I was looking forward to him contributing to the conflict, but he was quickly thrown aside in like 5 pages. Truly disappointed in the lost potential. 

I quite liked the plot, but it wasn’t worth the 400+ pages to get to the end. There were so many places where things dragged on or were over-explained that it negated the urgency of the story. 

Characters

The characters showed growth in this book and their personalities are shown. HOWEVER, they somehow felt flat to me. I couldn’t connect with any of them, wasn’t even sad when Gallion died or when Nyah almost died. I just couldn’t care less. Which I hate!

The character development and natural dialog were all there, but it was as if the characters were overworked or things over-explained that diluted these characters. And I’m sad about that. I really wanted to connect with them and root for them, but couldn’t.

I’d also like to point out that I didn’t get the connection between Zacriah and Gallion. Their relationship was described as that of a father and son, but I didn’t even pick up on that. When we first met Gallion, he was rash and standoffish, and we didn’t get much else from him after that. 

However, I Gordex was an intriguing character as he had a calm, fatherly side that quickly turned to malice and manipulation. I thoroughly enjoyed him as a villain because I sometimes forgot that he was the bad guy. He was a complex character and I wish other characters were like him. 

In addition, I liked the relationship Alderson was creating between Zac and Marthill, and Zac and Tiv. Those relationships were complex and showcased a different side to Zacriah that was refreshing to see. I honestly thought that Marthill would become an ally soon rather than later, but that was part of the fun of their relationship. 

So, in the end, the characters were a bit all over the place and I wasn’t able to connect or enjoy them like I should have been able to.

Writing

Just like the previous books, Poisoned in Light did not escape the lack of proofreading. I mean, on one page a character’s name was spelled 2 different ways: Samian and Simian. This goes back and forth for a few pages before we finally get Simian as the final name. Like what the hell? That should not have been glossed over.

On top of the poor proofreading, we had some awkward and clunky transitions between scenes. For example, the entire chapter of Zac on the boat drinking and then Hadrian coming to rescue him. It was choppy and didn’t flow well, leaving me confused and rereading sections to make sure what I read was correct. 

Again, just like in the previous books, we were told about characters instead of being shown how the character and corresponding relationships were. I think this led to my disconnect as we didn’t actually get to experience characters naturally. 

While the writing itself was solid, the lack of proofreading, grammatical issues, and transitions really bogged down the story for me. I found it hard to focus on certain sections or keep up with transitions between scenes, and I really hate that for this book. 

Final Thoughts

I had high hopes for Poisoned in Light, but it ultimately let me down by dragging out the plot and diluting the story with trivial plot points. 

I wanted this book to be so much more than it was and I was excited to get into it. But I struggled to even get through the first half of the book without falling asleep or forcing myself to keep reading. 


What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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