Published by Orbit on March 15th 2016
Length: 16 hours 32 minutes
Once they were a band of mercenaries who shook the pillars of the world through cunning, alchemical brews, and cold steel. Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days behind them, scattered to the wind, and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated one by one.
A lifetime of enemies has its own price.
Adrian Selby brings us into an unforgettable new world filled with magic, mystery, intrigue, bloodshed and betrayal.
Oh, this is not an easy review to write. Ultimately, this is a book I wanted to love, or at least like, but truthfully I struggled with it. I will say, I enjoyed all the words as they were written, I felt the prose was incredibly well done. So while reading any given page I felt like I was enjoying the book at that particular moment. But when I would look at the big picture, and the story over all, that was not the case. If I stopped reading, I was perfectly content to not return. I also felt like I wasn’t retaining the details like I should be, so at times I would stop and just feel unsure how what I just read fit into the rest of the story, or maybe just try to remember details of what I just read. It all came down to the structure for me. I enjoyed the prose, but never felt invested in the characters or overall story.
The format of telling the story through found footage is one that I’ve seen a few times recently in books that I loved. The Three by Sarah Lotz, The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp, Arkwright by Allen Steel, The Deadhouse by Dawn Kurtagich. All of these books were told through found footage, and I loved every one of them. Some of them had mainly journal entries or writings from one particular point of view, but the general idea of piecing together a story by reading old When I sat back to try and understand why that format worked so well in these previously mentioned books versus Snakewood, one important difference I could think of is that the books that worked for me in this style all have some catch in the beginning; There is some major part of the plot that is revealed early on, something that really captivated me and made me want to keep reading so I could piece the story together through the found footage. I wanted to figure out how the story gets to that point that captured my attention so keenly in the beginning. With Snakewood, we do learn that someone is killing off people who were all once assassins together. But there was not suspense or emotion involved for me with this aspect early on. With Arkwright, I think I was on the verge of tears within just a single page of that book and because of this there was no way I could put that book down. I needed to know more. I had to keep reading. I never felt that with Snakewood.
I think if there had been less characters to keep track of, that may have helped quite a bit as well. But to have that many characters, it was much harder for me to become attached or to care. There are some series, like The Black Company by Glen Cook and Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson, where the reader has to have patience and go with the flow until everything starts to click, but with both of those, you are investing in a series, versus a standalone. I just feel like the ramp up time with this did not work well for a stand alone, especially without some thing major with the plot to really capture the reader from the very beginning.
My experience with this book leaves me certain I will read another book by the author, I felt I could really enjoy his writing, and the there were some very interesting aspects to Snakewood. I also really enjoyed the narration. That said, overall, the structure of this book really fell flat for me and left me disconnected from a story that I really wanted to enjoy.