Saturday, 28 November 2015
Hidden by Megg Jensen
I had this as an audiobook from Audible.co.uk, narrated by Emily Kleimo. It's the first book in the Dragonlands series.
The premise sounded really interesting. An entire village surrounded by a dense fog. Nobody who enters the fog has ever come back, and no visitor ever comes through the fog from the outside. One morning it simply appeared, and it has remained there for 80 years. Tressa's grandmother was the only person in the village left who was alive when the fog came. When she died from a mysterious illness, it becomes apparent that she must have known far more than she was telling. As the mysterious illness claims more victims, Tressa and her friends Bastian and Connor set out to try and make it through the fog in order to find medicine.
The book has a number of plot holes. Or at least they seem like plot holes. Perhaps they are issues that will be explained in later books. For example, it is mentioned time and time again that entering the fog is akin to suicide, yet suddenly people seem to want to do it all the time. At one point Bastian asks another character, "why did you not follow us through the fog?" He might as well have asked why the other person didn't just jump off a cliff and die, which might lead people to believe that Bastian was none to fond of the other person, but this is not at all the case. For 80 years entering the fog has been certain death, and suddenly everybody is travelling back and forth through it.
There are numerous other things that aren't explained, things that seem to make little sense and things which seem to be of little consequence but which nonetheless was given a lot of attention. Plot devices, for example. The book is full of them and they're not even particularly subtle. Clearly put there to get the main characters into position, and then quickly killed off once they're no longer necessary.
This might all sound like I didn't really like the book at all, which would be an inaccurate assumption. Certainly I didn't completely love it, but I wouldn't mind finding out what happens next. It still sounds like a really interesting premise, especially if we find out more about Tressa's grandmother and what she knew, didn't know, told, didn't tell and general motives along the way. I suspect the heart of the story is actually with her rather than Tressa or Bastian.
I shan't be getting them on audiobook, though. At least not unless it's a different narrator. Kleimo sounded for the most part as though she really just wanted to get through it and get it over with. She spoke so quickly, a couple of times I would have to go back a bit and listen again. You could tell how she would get impatient as she read, because the start of each chapter she was speaking in a softer tone of voice and with less yapping speed than at the end of the chapter. The difference was very noticeable with every new chapter, especially the later ones. I'll be going with the Kindle for the rest of this series, I think.