My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I read both ‘Marco’ books in swift succession (Pendulum & Blade of Night). And it was halfway through Marco and the Blade of Night that I realised something.
There’s a lot of talking. I mean, there’s a LOT of talking. I was reminded of the scenes in Buffy where Giles told us about the demon of the week. These books are exposition central. Whilst I cannot call them poorly written (there’s a definite competency to the writing), I can say that these two books have such pacing issues that I found myself skimming vast chunks of yet another fifteen pages where people stand around and say how scary things are. Want to read a properly scary nervy book? Right now I’m reading The Drowning Pond and that is scary.
The Marco books have an amazing premise (I mean, look at something like Robin Jarvis’ The Raven’s Knot for some stunning writing on Glastonbury. The place is rich with stories. The Marco books don’t deliver and that made me really sad. There are moments when I see something in these stories, moments with Rosa or with the parental relationship between Josh and his dad, and then I lose it and don’t manage to pick it up until I’ve read through several more chapters. I think the key problem with these books is that there are people who, quite simply, have done it better. Head towards someone like Anthony Horowitz and you’ll see exactly what I mean.