Review: Trinity Rising / Author: Elspeth Cooper / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
There is a cliché in the music business that can be described as ‘the difficult second album’, and alas, this also applies to novels. Often the flaws that can be found (but are ignored) in an authors’ debut work become exasperated in the inevitable sequel, and this is the problem with Elspeth Cooper’s Trinity Rising.
The first book, Songs of the Earth, was a rather stunning debut fantasy novel, one that though firmly entrenched in the mainstream take on the genre was still fresh, engaging and interesting. However, the book also suffered from having too few strong characters; those present were quite samey. This was fine in the first book because of the pace, however Trinity Rising is slower and less powerful overall.
It doesn’t help that very few of the male characters are not sympathetic or interesting in any way. Many of them are utterly vile, and this tends to be dull and alienating. In addition the supporting cast seem only to exist to get in the way of the plot. This is a huge shame because when the narrative comes together it’s extremely impressive; Trinity Rising has some real fireworks and those moments almost make it worth the journey. There is a lot of potential on the page, but it fails to cross over from average to awesome, even though it comes frustratingly close. This is a tale of heroes, magic and extreme conflict and yet fails to excite.
Elspeth Cooper writes novels that are hard to stop reading, her style is very reader friendly and she brings you into the world almost effortlessly. Sadly once she has you, the tale flounders. The voice and style are superb, but the content is just not strong enough. If you enjoyed the superior Songs of the Earth then you will probably want to pick this up, but be warned that it ends unfinished; clearly there is a third book in the series and I seriously hope that it turns out to be a stunner, especially given the promise of the first.