When I read fantasy, I have exacting standards. For my money, my ideal reaction to Book One is “Hmm” or “I wonder…”; all through the last book, I hope to shout, “Of course!”, turning pages as fast as I possibly can. What a writer should not want, under any circumstances, is for me to say too often “Saw that one coming.” And if I am muttering, “Figures,” at any time during Book One, I will probably not continue reading the series. At the end of Nate Wilson‘s new book 100 Cupboards, I said “Hmm.”
I’ll write a longer review of the book later, but here’s my quick two cents. According to Canon Press’s Web site, it’s “the first book of a new fantasy adventure.” I found it promising. Overall, a solid first series book.
The first book in a series, particularly in a SF series, has to accomplish a lot of very different tasks. Among them:
1) It must introduce engaging characters and give them interesting things to do that will get the story rolling (but not too fast).
2) In addition to marching toward its own climax through its own great plot, it must lay the groundwork for the series’ plot: grander, higher, and more amazing than each book on its own.
3) It must give readers a glimpse of evil, and resist the pull to make the villain(s) more engaging than the main character.
4) Offer up secrets and surprises early, hint at others for later in the book, and keep many, many more, laying charges that will explode in the reader’s mind at the appropriate time.
Wilson does a better-than-decent job at all these tasks. I have a few quibbles, which I’ll save for my long review, but overall, I liked it.