Review a Book Badly: Wicked Bronze Ambition

So, I’m currently drowning in day job work. So it’s really good that I still had one pre-written blog post sitting in my archive. I’ll write more when I have space to breathe again.

Also, if you’re wondering, the title for the reviews – Review a Book Badly – comes from twitter hashtag games like #ExplainABookBadly. I’m not reviewing books negatively (although this one, urgh) just doing a bad job of reviewing them. For the sake of humour.


When Investigators Don’t Investigate. Metal Which Used to Power Magic Now Suddenly Disagrees With It. WTF.

 

The fourteenth – and possibly final – book in Glen Cook’s brilliant fantasy noir series (Garrett, P.I.), Wicked Bronze Ambition …is a garbled wreck that completely fails to live up to the majority of the series. Book 13 was meh, book 12 was okay, unlike a lot of people I really liked book 11 and 10-1 ranged between good and brilliant. 14, Wicked Bronze Ambition, does not. It almost feels like someone else wrote it – the plot, setting, and characterisation are so off – but then the prose will deliver an excellent description which is so Glen Cook-ish that only Cook could have written it.

Personally, I think he got tired of writing the same series after a while and this book was a half-hearted effort. I also think he got too attached to the Windwalker character – she was great as a spook off the hill (rich wizard suburb) in book twelve. In book thirteen she teetered on Canon-Sue (complete with standard bad fanfic effects like the love interest she sought to replace abruptly becoming an obsessed, manipulative, bitch – which itself was well written but which clearly happened just to make room for multi-colour-eyes) and here she is 100% a Canon Mary-Sue. And I say that having written a book on Mary-Sues and curing them.

If you want my opinion on Garrett, P.I. as a series, it’s this: you should definitely read the first eleven books (assuming hardboiled detectives in high fantasy worlds is your thing), because they are AWESOME. Read the twelfth book (Cruel Zinc Melodies) because it’s a pretty good book with strong feels at the end. It’s not the best of them, but it’s a good ending for the series. Don’t bother with 13 (Gilded Latten Bones) and 14 (Wicked Bronze Ambition).

If you would like to know more about my opinion and think this wasn’t enough of a review, ask yourself two questions: Are you okay with spoilers? And are you okay with vulgarity, excessive capslock, and lack of context?

If you said yes to both of those, please enjoy these garbled notes I typed up one handed while reading this garbled book:

 

Explaining things for entire 2 page paragraphs which used to be woven subtly in and don’t need that much explaining. It used to be shown now it’s telling in an awful and this is so and so way

Sympathy from Relway? Holy shit.

Garrett’s relationship and grief re: Windwalker does not ring true, he’s had more on page interaction with other love interests than this one and there’s nothing special about her nature to indicate why all the characters like her so much.

The writing is full of beautiful descriptions of the classic Garrett – or, really, the classic Cook – style, but there are major inconsistencies (silver, iron, and sorcery don’t mix? SINCE WHEN? Iron having problems has never been mentioned and the necessity for silver to cast sorcery has been a major plot point since book one, since that’s what the entire FOUR GENERATION WAR IN THE FUCKING CANTARD WAS ABOUT).

Garrett attests that Kip does not think of Kevans as a girl – but last book it was more or less stated that they had been friends with benefits because he was too socially incompetent to realise he was cheating on Kyra. WTF.

Garrett, a P.I., dismisses a cook and cleaner as likely to know anything – despite this being the exact sort of person he usually assumes will have overheard shit going down!

Two books ago Morely’s restaurant across from The World was The Velvet Curtain. Now it’s The Grapevine. No explanation. :/

Handles Garrett and Tinnie meeting pretty damn well.

Uses quotidian, then few chapters later claims not to know what it means

Finally feeling like Garrett investigating like Garrett …oh wait. Never mind

Again, this nonsense about iron and silvery negating sorcery!

Twins with 1 letter diff in the name? V BAD IDEA. Who are the moon twin? Dunno, don’t care. Not enough personality to tell them apart even when cast is worrying that the bad guys took the wrong one.

“Oh my?” Since when does Garrett talk like that?

Wait who is talking right now? This is beyond minimalism

Tara Chayne is a stupid name, but surprisingly has personality

Ooh church vs law

You know what it is that makes this book so irritating? I just figured it out. What’s irritating about this book is that it is a MYSTERY in which THE DETECTIVE is DELIBERATELY KEPT IN THE DARK BY HIS ALLIES AND IS OKAY WITH IT. IT’S A FUCKING MYSTERY. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE ENTERTAINED BY THIS PUZZLE IF OUR VIEW POINT CHARACTER IS TOLD HALF THE PUZZLE’S BEING KEPT FROM HIM AND DOESN’T TRY TO GET TO IT?!?

If the thunderlizards are following the tracker and Moonwhatever put it on the passing musicians WHY ARE THEY NOW ATTACKING GARRETT INSTEAD OF THE MUSICIANS? WE JUST HAD A CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW FINDING THAT TRACKER WAS LUCKY FOR GARRET!

Oh look an evil twin

Okay the fact name curse that is imagined is pretty good

Twin Villain tries to offer up information. Is IGNORED WTF

First voodoo, now kendo swords? When did this turn into earth?

FUCKING SHINIGAMI?!?

Build up the Orchid as someone uber scary but then just put her in a sack????????

Okay so they’re basically ninjas …with no setting build up to fucking allow for ninjas

Ending climax catchy bad guys bit is all we caught them there’s an unexplained deadline we’re in a rush! And then? Gosh let’s stop for fireworks. :/

The girl is secretly a dog. Why the fuck was no one willing to explain this shit to Garrett before?

It’s painful obvs that Sue-fa isn’t staying dead but nobody tells Garrett

And the entire book long everyone’s sniping at Garrett (and thus the readers who have equally few clues and significantly more frustration at everything being help back from their POV) for being so “slow” on the uptake and mean to people he has no effing reason to be nice to and so out of it over the loss of his wife WHILE DELIBERATELY WITHHOLDING THE INFORMATION HE NEEDS IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON. Way to be jerks guys. Just because you know his wife isn’t staying dead is no excuse to be mean to him for not knowing what you know!

DEATH SCENES AREN’T MEANINGFUL IF THEY COME BACK TO LIFE RIGHT AFTER

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