Welcome to Weekend Talk Among Yourselves, where I talk about behind-the-scenes stuff and things that have nothing to do about Avalon or whatever I’m recapping, and you can comment with whatever you want.
Here’s what’s happening on my end:
* My apologies for not posting much of anything last week. I was sick. It’s hard to write recaps when you’re sneezing every 30 seconds.
* Oh hai, shameless plug!
* This came up in the comments this week: if Avalon: Web of Magic was an animated movie / series, who would be the characters’ voice actors? I’m horrible at making fantasy casting calls, so you can speculate all you want in the comments.
* I’m on the fence about this. I want Spirit Animals to be post-Avalon: Shadow Warrior / Fire and Thorns recap bait. I really do. It has stuff that appeals to Avalon fans:
- Kids bonding with magical animals that give them special abilities!
- Gargantuan talking godlike animals!
- A quest for Magical Trinket McGuffins!
It has stuff that appeals to me:
- The possibility of dark secrets held by the supposedly heroic organization the protagonists join!
- Body horror!
- Absurd bonded animals, like the BATTLE PANDA, the BATTLE BUFFALO, the BATTLE NOT!CALIFORNIA CONDOR, the BATTLE OTTER, the BATTLE EARTHWORM and — hopefully in future books — the BATTLE OCTOPUS!
- One protagonist who’s smart enough to distrust the heroic organization that tries to recruit him!
And yet I had a lot of problems with the first book:
- Somewhat flat characters!
- Countries that are almost analogous to our world during the 1800s, to the point where I go, “Oh, they’re crossing the not!Mississippi River and traveling to the not!Rocky Mountains and meeting a tribe of natives who are totally not the Crow!”
- An antagonist that has a legitimate grudge, but everyone considers to be evil anyway!
- Everyone hates not!Australia!
- Brandon Mull’s tendency to tell, not show!
- Lots of character-building moments that are utterly skipped! Seriously, after the main characters and their bonded animals are introduced, the story jumps from one action scene to the next, with the occasional Trippy Dream Sequence to break it up. There’s so much potential for additional character development, but it’s all glossed over with “and then weeks passed, and then stuff happened.”
It’s obvious that I’m not the target audience for this — I want more nuanced storytelling, dammit! I want the characters I read about to interact and grow! I want characters with ambiguous motives! Spirit Animals is giving me none of that. All I can tell you about the main characters are their bonded animals, their main character trait, and where they came from. And after the first book, I don’t give a shit about them. So, I ask you … should I continue on with this series, or should I give up on it? I’m leaning towards the latter.