The Alexa Montgomery Saga #1
Published September 5, 2011 by H.D. Gordon
I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get into it. A combination of antipathy toward the characters, inconsistencies, and the lack of a discernable plot made it difficult for me to finish this book. However, a lot of people really enjoyed it, so just keep that in mind when you're reading what I have to say.
I picked up Blood Warrior from the R2R program on one of my Goodreads groups. I had already heard a lot of people rave about how amazing it was, so I was excited to read it. It sounded like a great story: mystery, danger, inner conflict, magic – all the things I love.
Unfortunately, I didn't find it nearly as thrilling as most of my friends. Every time I picked it up, I read a few pages and then found myself doing something else. I'd switch to another book on my Kindle, go online, watch TV. I just couldn't focus on this book. Obviously I did finish it, or I wouldn't be writing this review, but it took me a week and a half, which for me is the approximate equivalent of forever.
There were a couple of reasons for my disinterest that I immediately recognized. First, the love triangle. This may have just been bad timing. At this point I am incredibly sick of love triangles. They are now a hurdle that a book has to overcome to get a good rating from me. That's something that happens occasionally, but in this case not only was there a love triangle, but I didn't find either of the love interests...interesting. In the scenes when Alexa was with Kayden or Jackson, I felt nothing at all. I don't even care who she ends up with.
Which leads me to my next problem. Alexa went through a lot of strong emotions in this book, and I should have felt something for her. The only thing I really felt was exasperation. I wasn't emotionally invested in any of the characters, and the closest I got to caring was wondering why everyone was so tolerant of Alexa's homicidal tendencies, because it just didn't seem reasonable that everyone would think it was perfectly normal for her to snap and try to kill people whenever they annoyed her. This is where "show, don't tell" really comes in; actions can sometimes be told, but emotions must be shown, or I don't believe them.
Inconsistencies and incredibilities cropped up with unfortunate frequency in this story. Why did Alexa's mom prepare her physically for her heritage, but not mentally? Wouldn't the training Alexa hated so much have been more palatable if she actually knew what it was for? And how can an obviously rather small society sustain the weekly death or severe injury of its elite? Either I don't understand how the competition in the Arena works, or there are way more warriors than it looks like. Why did Nelly, the younger sister, always seem to be older than Alexa? Individually, none of these are all that important (except for the first one, which really bothered me), but once they start stacking up, it becomes a problem.
Finally, the plot lacked direction. Mostly it was just Alexa barreling from one overdramatized crisis to another. There were a couple of good plot points, but they didn't really go anywhere. I really felt like this book was just painting the background for an actual story. I don't think I can stress how important this is. Stories need a point. The entire plot of this book was literally just Alexa learning various disturbing things about her new home, and then seeing something else weird but unrelated, and then doing something impulsive, and also unrelated. The ending had no resolution because there was nothing to resolve, although it did suggest to me that the plot in the next book will be rather better.
Okay. Having said all that, a number of friends have really liked this book, so it's entirely possible you will as well. I did find the world fairly interesting, with good twists on traditional legend. Alexa is a strong heroine who obviously cares about people, even though some aspects of her personality are rather off-putting. So if the basic idea here sounds like something you would enjoy, you should probably just ignore me and give it a try. Let me know how it goes.