Land Locked is the sequel to Gyre, reviewed previously. In that review, I mentioned some pacing issues, and that things would be slow, then suddenly shift into hyperdrive, causing a bit of confusion.Land Locked starts out with a remedy to that…it is fairly sedate for about a third of the book, then things start happening. Literally. My Kindle listed me at 33% when it picked up some more interesting story aspects.
Not to say the first third isn’t interesting, it just feels like it is looking about, trying to find where it needs to head. As before, we have a lot of branches shown, and seemingly discarded. While that is, I think, somewhat realistic, it is also (for me, at least) a difficult read. I see a branch, it looks good, and then we are off in a different direction. As we all know, the imagined is often better, being our own custom reality, than the written; and that is in evidence here.
We start two years later, with Trevor and Chelsea still working with the Waterstar Map, looking for lost Link Pieces, and an advantage in the Atlantean / Lemurian war. And the missing SeaSat5. And where their potential relationship went. With much moping about, and a bit of exposition, we shamble through the first bits.
But then, things pick way up. It begins with a mission that is forward in time, not backwards. And that’s it. Honestly, the book becomes a long list of spoilers after this. From characters reappearing from Gyre, to new powers (which double as bad things), a psycho or two, hidden messages, new enemies, a different view of the war, and all the stuff I liked from Gyre itself. The second two thirds is totally the payoff for the slow beginning. It took me weeks (and I read like three other books in the process) to get through the first third, and a matter of a few days to finish…it’s that different a pace.
Land Locked is far more focused on relationships than Gyre, which does change the tone of the book. That change can throw some readers, and did throw me. But if you continue, the payoff is there. Be patient, it will appear, and while not losing focus on the relationship piece, there is more happening to drive the book forward. I looked at it like so: if The Empire Strikes Back was book two of the Star Wars novel series – no movies – what kind of reaction would it receive on first read? Action opener, then is just fall off a cliff – scores of pages about fixing a hyperdrive! Chapters of running in the swamps! Snore.
This may be the ESB of this series – don’t stop just because it feels slow to start, it gets really good. Promise.