Silverwood - Betsy Streeter

(I got a copy from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

As of now, I am not sure yet whether I should give this book 1 star or 2. I can't say that I didn't like it at all, because several ideas and themes were definitely interesting, and made me want to know more. But... This is one of those "good ideas, but..." novels, too.

Mostly I was constantly annoyed with the feeling that I was reading a first draft, instead of an edited copy. (Of course, as an Advanced Reader Copy, it was still liable to change; however, I still think an ARC is meant to be as close as possible to a ready-to-be-published version, not to a draft.) Sometimes the story dragged in places, sometimes it went much too fast, leaving gaps in the narrative that were difficult to fill. In the end, too many elements still remained shrouded in mystery—and not the kind of mystery that is justified, since it stemmed, in my opinion, from aforementioned gaps. Keeping revelations for a second installment is nice, but not when it makes a jumble of the first.

As a result, I had a hard time caring for the characters and for their predicament, as well as for the antagonists. The former's decisions often didn't seem to make a lot of sense, and too many secondary characters didn't have enough screen time for their role to be understandable (Chris, Rosie, Eleanor...). The latter's motives were unclear, their moves too sudden to know where they came from (puzzling the heroes is good; puzzling the reader, not so much). Adding time travel, portals, a jail, a Council, alien-like creatures, and a strange little town whose importance wasn't properly stressed... Well, let's just say the mix was too confusing.

The third person present tense style was the second thing that alienated me, so to speak. It is a tricky style to deal with, and while it works in some stories, here it didn't do anything for me, and made me cringe more than once.

This is really too bad, because I did want to like this story, and it did seem like the kind of time travel-filled plot I would normally enjoy...