rise and fall

I finished reading ‘The Necklace of the Gods’ (Alison Goodman) this morning, and, after thinking about it for a lot of the afternoon, I actually kind of have mixed feelings about it.

(Just a warning before I proceed: I’m going to do my best not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I can’t guarantee anything because it’s hard to write about everything I want to write about without giving away some of the story.)

TNOTG is still written superbly well, just like the first novel, ‘The Two Pearls of Wisdom’ but the story and character development just felt … different. Not necessarily in a bad way. Here, let me explain…

It’s kind of been a while since I read TTPW (well, it hasn’t really, but my long-term memory isn’t that great so it kind of has been) so I don’t remember it in extensive details, but Eona’s character/personality seemed more stable/constant. The plot development also seemed more straightforward – not really meaning to say it was more simplistic, but TNOTG kind of weaves around a bit more in comparison.

Having said that, however, I kind of reckon that the build-up in TNOTG was a bit slower than TTPW, culminating in a frickin’ epic ending (please excuse the language) in the last five or so chapters. Actually, it was probably because I read it more slowly than the first book…

I mean, the first book was kind of centred around the Palace and the Dragoneye Halls, and they went to that fishing village briefly, but in the second book they seem to travel all over the place. And there’s a whole lot of death and destruction throughout. I liked that there was plenty of action and such, but there was also a lot more talking and strategising – and so much more about relationships and feelings and sexual tension.

I suppose it was all necessary, though. It’s kind of a complex concept – the whole thing with the Dragons and their pearls and their relationship with the Dragoneyes and also the Imperial line…

When I said earlier that Eona’s character seemed more stable in the first book – that’s because of the development of her relationships with Ido and Kygo in TNOTG. Ido brings out her power-hungry side, which I kind of felt was at odds with who she really was, since she’s the hero. But, considering her past, I suppose it makes sense for her to have some craving for power. And then her relationship with Kygo was sort of up and down all the time.

Ok, now this next part might not make a lot of sense, considering what I just wrote, but I liked Ido a lot more in TNOTG than in the first book. Maybe I just felt sorry for him at the start, or maybe I liked that he seemed to be helping Eona and protecting her… If I think of Ido and Kygo as characters in isolation, not in context of the story and whether they’re good or evil (if that makes sense), I reckon I like Ido better. (For anyone who hasn’t read the series (can you still call it a series if there’s only two books in it?), it’s sort of like comparing Edward and Jacob from ‘Twilight’.)

I still can’t get over how awesome the ending was, though. I don’t want to fully give it away, but that twist involving Yuso kind of caught me by surprise. Overall, I reckon I’d rank ‘The Necklace of the Gods’ as highly as I did ‘The Two Pearls of Wisdom’. Too bad there won’t be another sequel…

Edit: Just wanted to add, for the record, and for random trivia, when there are only two books in a series, it’s actually called a duology (as advised by a friend). There don’t seem to be many duologies in the literary world (I haven’t heard of them, anyway) but there you go.

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