City of Light - Keri Arthur

This could have been a wonderful book and the start of a series that I would have followed avidly but the writing degraded my enjoyment too much for me to want to continue.


"City Of Light" is an Urban Fantasy / Sci-Fi book that has a lot of strengths. It brings together humans, shifters, aliens, genetically engineered people and ghosts in an original way. The world-building is well thought through. The plot is intriguing. The kick-ass-but-empathic heroine has a secret, an agenda, a complex history and a guilt-driven need to protect children from evil. There's lots of well-described action, often enabled by an interesting mix of magic and technology.


For me, all of this was undermined by the kind of careless or lazy writing that a second draft or a decent editor could have fixed.


Certain phrases occurred with such regularity that I could have built a drinking game around them:

"He/she smiled but there was no humour in it"

"He/It sent a shiver down my spine"

"Energy/Tension bit the air"

"My skin tingled under his gaze".


There were enough small grammatical errors to give the book that self-published I-can't-afford-a-copy-editor feel.


Then there were descriptions that shouldn't have passed a second reading

"He was not what he seemed. He had deeper depths."


Personally, I think the use of the phrase, "I proceeded to..." should be restricted police officers giving evidence and really doesn't work in a sex scene.


The story is told from the point of view of our kick-ass, I-was-built-by-humans-a hundred-years-ago-to-seduce-and-interrogate heroine and yet, by the end of the book, I knew very little about her other than that she is easily aroused and willing to kill to friends to achieve her goal.


Then the book ends rather than finishes. One goal is achieved but nothing much is explained. I felt I'd just watched the pilot for SyFy series that couldn't afford a good scriptwriter.


Even though the ideas are appealing, I won't be going back. I'd rather read authors who have enough respect for themselves and their readers to polish before they publish.