Extinction (Forgotten Realms: R.A. Salvatore's War of the Spider, Book 4) - Lisa Smedman

So far in this series, there were three books by three different authors, who largely seemed transparent in their authorial voice-- in other words, this seemed like any other RA Salvatore series. The word I was most associating with the series was "outsourcing" --i.e. Famous Writer comes up with the story but can't be bothered to actually type it out...

 

Never once, did the "F" word even cross my mind during the first three novels. Chapter one of the fourth novel, it started to smell.... It started to smell like... FANFICTION.

 

You know how when you're flipping channels on the TV and come across a soap opera, and you don't even have to hear any dialogue to know that it's a soap opera? Something about the lighting, the music, the camerawork just clues you in to the fact that it's a soap opera. Now, serious film and tv students could probably tell you exactly what's going on, but it doesn't matter. There are unconscious signifiers. ...and this book stank of fanfiction.

 

"But wait-- this character has this AMAZING magical doohickey/ability/personality quirk that they've TOTALLY had all along, but I just mentioned for the first time here in the first chapter of the fourth book..." Not once, not twice, but about ten times in the first few chapters of the book.

 

Also, there were some weird continuity things... towards the end of book three, the characters traveled through a magical portal (of course they did), and upon emerging, commented that of course they'd be able to return because the portal works both ways (whatever), but right away in book four, our noble author informs us "too bad we came back to this dumb portal because it's one-way and we can't get back" ... grrrr.

 

...anyways, I felt like as the book went on, the incongruities were less jarring and the flow of the series returned. Still, though, this is definitely the weak point in the series' storytelling.

 

I don't know. Maybe this author would be okay with her own story and her own characters, but in this setting, Smedman was a poor choice.