The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Copper Cat (Book #1 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy
Pages: 544 pages (UK paperback edition)
Published: 13th February 2014 by Headline (UK) & 5th July 2016 by Angry Robot (US)
The Copper Promise should’ve been classified as a collection instead of a full novel.
Believe me; I’m disheartened by my rating towards this book, but an honest review must be given. I’m sorry, Jen Williams, you know how much I loved The Winnowing Flames trilogy. If you’re reading this review, please do not read whatever I write below.
As I said, I absolutely loved The Winnowing Flames trilogy by Jen Williams. The trilogy was completed last year, and it is one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read it, fix it ASAP. My super positive reading experience with The Winnowing Flames trilogy was the most significant booster that finalized my decision to go through Jen Williams’s backlog of books. I realize that it can be an odd experience going through an author’s backlog of books, especially when it’s a book that has been published for several years before their newest, and usually, most polished work. This, of course, isn’t always the case; there are also authors that, in my opinion, haven’t been able to write another book that’ triumphs over their own incredible debut. The Copper Promise is Jen Williams’s debut novel, and unfortunately, I have to say that it is a far cry from the brilliant quality shown in The Winnowing Flames trilogy.
I’ll keep this review brief. The Copper Promise doesn’t read like a full novel; many reviews have mentioned this, but it is a collection comprised of four novellas bundled into one. The odd structure of the “novel” was easily the biggest downfall of the book for me. The Copper Promise did start superbly; the first novella—Ghosts of the Citadel—was so incredibly well-crafted as an intro to a series that I honestly thought this book would’ve been able to receive—at least—a 4 stars rating. However, everything that comes after seems to progressively decline in quality. The second and the third novella felt like fillers that are so disjointed from each other. Wyrdin, Sebastian, and Frith were a trio of characters that I felt invested in at first, but as I read through the book further, I somehow ended up feeling more distant and dispassionate towards them. The characters didn’t have any memorable characterizations and developments yet, and by the time I reached the final novella—even though it was quite good—I was already at the point where I simply didn’t care anymore; I never felt like I was scared for the character’s fate and predicament.
I definitely would’ve preferred reading The Copper Promise with a single narrative rather than four different novellas bundled into one package that’s marketed as a full novel. If you’re going to read this, I highly suggest you treat this book as a collection with separate self-contained novellas instead of a novel. The Copper Promise didn’t click with me, and if I may be brutally honest, I would’ve given up reading Jen Williams’s other books if this was my first experience with her work. Fortunately, I’ve read and totally loved The Winnowing Flames trilogy; I’m still very much looking forward to reading Jen Williams’s newest book in 2021, but I doubt I’ll be continuing with this trilogy, not anytime soon anyway.
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)
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