A Promising Start, A Disappointing Finish

Posted on February 22, 2017 «
Categories: 2016-2017 COYER, 2017 Shelf Love, book review «
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Book Review
created by Max Gladstone

One part Warehouse 13 and one part Supernatural, Bookburners is one extremely long wild ride in pursuit of books and artifacts bent on destroying the planet. This novel was originally publish in serial format and Saga Press compiled Season 1 into a single book for better or worse.

At the start, Bookburners shined. Episode 1 drew me in with the known (a cop trying to rescue her brother) and the unknown (a secret Vatican agency hunting demons). Each installment or episode was another adventure. Each story was contained with a few short chapters with a bit of backstory about each team member slowly leaked out creating a cohesive story. Sure some of the stories were stronger than others (the story in Scotland about Ashanti’s mentor was a bit of a mess), but I enjoyed them like a binge reading fool. It also helped that there was a bit of dark humor and religious philosophy to keep the mind thinking and mulling over deeper elements hidden between the lines.

But in the end, Bookburners is just too long. It clocks in at over 800 pages, now I’m not afraid of big books, especially since my goal every year is to read 20,000 pages. Right around episode 10, the mood and focus of the book changes. With few hints that the big baddie from episode 1 has returned, suddenly Bookburners wants to become a cohesive novel with a single overarching storyline. By about episode 13, I repeatedly checked my percent progress through the book because the elements I loved about the first 9 episodes were gone.

If Bookburners had remained truly episodic and maintained its lighthearted dark humor nature through all 16 episodes, I would be more likely to explore this serial further. As it stands now, I can’t honestly recommend all 16 episodes of season 1 because of the poor connection between episode 1 and the later episodes in the serial. The attempt to create a novel out of serialization failed in Bookburners and left me upset the tone and direction of that the story changed so dramatically between page one and page 800.

A version of this review also appeared in The Gazette. Read it now.


The Quick Book Review

A Promising Start, A Disappointing Finish


Author: Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, Brian Francis Slattery
Published on: January 31, 2017
Pages: 800
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Down


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About Brian Francis Slattery

Editor, reporter, musician, and writer living just outside of New Haven, CT.

About Margaret Dunlap

Hi! My name is Margaret and I write for the small and smaller screens.

I live in Southern California, where I torment the other members of the Bookburners writing team with weather reports and brace myself for the earthquake that will turn Burbank into oceanfront property.

In addition to the books in my profile you can also find my work on The Middleman (ABC Family), Eureka (SyFy), and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

(from GoodReads)

About Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone is the author of the Craft Sequence: THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and most recently, LAST FIRST SNOW. He's been twice nominated for the John W Campbell Best New Writer award, and nominated for the XYZZY and Lambda Awards.

Max has taught in southern Anhui, wrecked a bicycle in Angkor Wat, and been thrown from a horse in Mongolia. Max graduated from Yale University, where he studied Chinese.

(from GoodReads)

About Mur Lafferty

Mur Lafferty is the author of The Shambling Guides series from Orbit books, as well as several self pubbed novels and novellas, including the award winning Afterlife series. She is the host of podcasts I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers. She is the recipient of the John Campbell Award for best new writer, the Manly Wade Wellman Award, and joined the Podcast Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.

(from GoodReads)




2 responses to “A Promising Start, A Disappointing Finish

  1. What a bummer! It sounds like it started REALLY strong too. Do you think that’s why you kept going, even after it started to disappoint? Because you were hoping it would return to how it started? I struggle to read long books these days, so I’ll have to skip this for sure. Great review!

    • I was hoping that things would straighten themselves out, but they never did. Since each installment is written by a different author I was hoping one of them would get it back on track so to speak. No such luck!