Copper Descent by Angela Hartley

I had the pleasure of reading Copper Descent by Angela Hartley. Her novel is the first I will rate on my blog using the system I described in a previous post about writing book reviews. Before I get into that, read the short synopsis of the novel. It describes the story very accurately, which is why I’m not going to rephrase it myself.

The tale of Sinauf was a secret nineteen-year-old Nina Douglas’ ancestors kept hidden for eighteen generations. But the truth has been brought into light.
The dark god of legend is real.
Caught in an ancient war still raging strong in the modern world, Nina is confronted with Sinauf—the embodiment of all she fears and desires. Like a moth drawn to a deadly flame, Nina must resist the seductive charm of a beautiful monster, or prepare to lose everything she holds dear.
Temptation has a name, and he is coming for her.

1. Overall Plot
I felt that the novel as a whole had a very cohesive story. Every time I had to put the novel down (only because my work breaks were over, or I needed sleep so I could function). I found myself wondering what was about to happen and why some things had happened. By the end of the book, my questions were answered to my satisfaction, and Angela Hartley, left enough intrigue for sequels. But I’ll get into that a little later.

If I had to choose something that I was disappointed by … The ending came too quickly. A lot of things happen in the last 37 pages. I would have liked more detail on things that happened at the end. (I really don’t want to spoil the story for you, which is why I’m not getting more specific) Although I have to admit the balance of action and description was handled well.
I wouldn’t say the plot was the most complex I’ve ever seen, but there were nice surprises that I didn’t see coming. It never lost my attention, and I wasn’t confused by any events/action that transpired.

2. Characters
My emotions were with the characters. I felt the anger, betrayal, loss and love right there with them. The main Character Nina had a lot of challenges she needed to face and she stepped up to them. By the end, I could clearly see the girl she had started out as, and the woman she had become. But a story wouldn’t be satisfying for me if it only involved one character. While the majority of the story is told about Nina and what she is experiencing, the other characters also had journeys of their own. At the end, none of the characters are the same people as they were at the beginning. They became better or worse based on their choices and experiences.

3. World
I enjoyed the imagery Angela Hartley used in her writing. Whether in the cold snow or visiting the sandy ocean, I could see it as the character did. Being familiar with Utah snow, I’m a fan of it personally; I wanted it to melt away as I began to hate it with the character. I longed for the ocean with Nina, even though I’m not usually one for the beach.
The alternate world Nina gets to go to was also no problem for my imagination. Angela Hartley introduced the various pieces as they were applicable to the story and characters. The light/beauty and darkness/desolation were both accentuated appropriately and proportionally within the places Nina visited.

There were also lovely references to various cultures that I found fascinating.
However I wish I understood Nina’s powers more. There were some interesting pieces of the puzzle given. But I want a better understanding the limitations to her powers as well as the full extent of what she can do.

4. Would I read it again/buy the sequel?
Re-readability, if that’s even a word. I would read it again; because I liked the satisfaction I received from the character growth and the overall plot.

The intrigue for sequels I mentioned. Yes it’s there, and I want more. At this point it doesn’t matter if sequels would be from the same character point of view or another person’s. This is a book series I want adorning my shelves. I also hope any sequels will provide further insight into the extent of Nina’s powers.

5. Would I recommend it?
I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the new adult genre. That being said, I will caution that there is some mild cursing by characters, and the topics of sex/rape/physical temptation and evil. If you aren’t comfortable with those topics, take it into consideration.

Overall I give Copper Descent 4.5 out of 5 stars. The only reason I’m not giving this a five, is because I want a better understanding of Nina’s powers.

If you would like to learn more about the author of Copper Descent:

Angela Hartley, Author of The Sentient Chronicles
www.angelahartley.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Angela-Hartley/267442633281341
Publisher: www.foxhollowpublications.com

More thoughts on writing book reviews

What do I do about the lurking worry my review will hurt an author’s feelings? How to be honest without sounding exaggerated, mean, fake, etc.? The best advice I was given for solving both these questions, “You can be kind without being nice.” I pair with that, who are you writing the review for? One author, numerous readers, or friends?

This is how I interpret that advice. Being kind is about telling the truth. Being nice is about saying whatever you think the person wants to hear. Being nice means you’ll still be friends and avoid awkward public situations. Being nice didn’t avoid awkward situations for me.

The earlier book reviews I wrote suffered from niceness. It’s pretty obvious to any who read the reviews as well. The reviews are bland and not a completely accurate depiction of what I felt. I tried to have an open discussion about a book I posted about with fellow humans. I felt like my credibility was thrown out the window. My written review gave a different perception than the one I tried to tell in conversation. If the book is awful, who wants to convince someone who gave it five stars of their folly?

That being said, I’m not saying don’t be compassionate to the author. No one likes a bully, and authors spend a lot of time and heartache on their work. Kindness involves word choice. For example, I can say “I didn’t like that the villain was killed without the hero standing up for themselves”. This explains why I feel the way I do. The statement also allows readers to decide if that situation is something that would bother them.

I don’t have to say “I think the hero should go jump off a cliff for being a worthless collection of letters on a page”. This doesn’t tell anyone why I think the hero is worthless and why you should think it to. Although I’ll confess I have had thoughts about worthless characters and the authors who wrote them.

A book review is not about telling the author what they need to revise or change in their story. That’s a conversation someone should have had with the author before the book was published. A book review is something you write for others to read and use in their decision about reading the novel.

To answer the question about sounding mean, fake, etc. I imagine telling my best friend (who isn’t the author) about this book I just read. What would I say to them about it and why?

The truth is everyone will love or hate different parts of a book. The girl should have picked a different guy, the dog should have lived, and the hero should have torched the villain…. The author gets to pick the ending. A book reviewer should give their honest opinion to their audience.