Review: “The Mystery of Farholt” by Jonathan Johnstone-Wilson

“The Mystery of Farholt” by Jonathan Johnstone-Wilson

Available from: Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Released on: 10 October 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of this book’s blog tour.

Description: Two strangers, Haargen and his young daughter, enter the tiny town of Horsend. They need a guide to lead them through the wilderness, and they need one fast.

There is only one person in Horsend with the knowledge and the skill to take such a job: Farholt. Whether he is a hunter, a poacher, or a ranger depends entirely on who is asked. Haargen may not trust the man, but he has no choice but to take him, because there is no way he could find his way alone. Saddled with a guide he doesn’t trust, a daughter unfit for hard travel, unexpected burdens, and secrets that he cannot tell, Haargen begins an arduous journey with a haste he cannot afford to explain.

To make matters all the worse, Farholt has secrets of his own. Secrets he has carried with him all his life. Whether these secrets will help Haargen’s mission, or hinder it, is a mystery that no one is likely to parse out.

Not quickly enough, in any case.

Review: This is a difficult review to write. (This is not, apparently, unusual for me.)

There was nothing bad about this book. It had an interesting cast of characters and as a recent complaint of mine in books (those reviewed and those I couldn’t finish) has been the poor writing of (or total lack of) female characters, I appreciated that this one HAD real female characters and that I thought they were well done. Sure, they were flawed, but all of them were so it was balanced.

Come the end, the secret of father and daughter didn’t really shock me. Farholt’s was a surprise, though, and I liked that.

Yet even so… I never fully connected. It felt like a really, really long prologue. There is this lingering feeling of nothing really happening. Like there’s no true climax to the book, that it’s just building up to something to come in a future story. (Hence it feeling like a prologue.) So it kind of felt like it dragged at several points.

Also, I don’t usually mention the editing of a book in a review–unless it’s really bad, it doesn’t effect my review–but this one surprised me. There’s a list of editors and people who worked on this book at the end and yet I caught many mistakes as I read. That was a little disconcerting to me.

So, I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t really like it either. 3.5 Fireballs.

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