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Book #8 of 2015: Flower's Fang

Flower's Fang by Madison Keller
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)



This was a frustrating book. It's easy to hate a badly written book or love a good one, but this book was close to being one I could love, it just fell short in a couple big areas.

The story was set on an alien/fantasy/something world where the dominant species were a plant-based humanish(?) one and a dog-human one.

Big issue #1: In a 353 page book, we never once got a description of what the plant-based race looked like. We learned that their hair(?) has flowers in it. Their feet(?) either have roots or are roots. Very late in the book we learned that they have a different color blood (sap?). What color was their skin? Did they even have two legs? Two eyes? I learned more while googling for a picture of the cover to include in this review than I did in the entire book. (The author made this plush toy of the plant-based main character. So... green skinned.) (Edit: After making this post, I see you can tell skin color and number of limbs from the cover image, but my Kindle is black and white, and the cover images are about an inch big, so you can't really see much at all. You shouldn't have to rely on the cover to know what a main character looks like.)

So, back to the plot. The dog species (basically dogs who could walk on two legs or four; furry, tails, ears, all that) was all about size and strength. The main dog character was literally half the size of everyone else, white furred when everyone else was brown or black, had a curly tail when everyone else had a straight one, and floppy ears when everyone else had pricked up ones.

The plant species was smaller and weaker. They were all magic users -- magic was natural to them. The main plant character was: 1) A prince of his species. 2) Couldn't do any magic.

Big Issue #2: While it makes sense that both of these characters would be outcasts, it was way, way over the top. Even the prince's mother didn't believe in him (in one scene, the prince was clearly in very bad pain and fainted -- his mother said he was faking it). And the dog girl? A male character who was basically the alpha of his generation bullied her endlessly (makes sense), but then suddenly decided he wanted to (have her as his mate? have sex with her? rape her?) even to the point of using a date rape drug on her. (Nevermind there had been no indication at all before this that the world had drugs at all -- every member of the plant species other than the prince could do healing magic, so no need for drugs.) Every Single Person in the whole entire world* hated and bullied these two characters. (*Other than the dog girl's parents.) It was just so over the top 'everyone must crap on these two'. The mother not believing her son was really in pain/really fainted was the last straw for me.

Through the first 60% of the book, I loved it. Was it perfect? No, but the world was interesting and I liked the two races. By 80%, my enjoyment of it quickly cooled, and I started reading faster/skimming. By 90% I had lost all interest in it. I haven't actually finished it yet, but I think I'm going to move on to the next book instead of continuing with Flower's Fang.

I'm frustrated, because I think this author is close to being really good. I did enjoy much of the book (which is why I gave it an 'okay' rating even though I'm not going to finish it). I'm not sure how her editors/beta readers didn't point out the lack of a description of the plant species. (She wasn't lacking in other sorts of descriptions, settings and objects and such.)

Dialing back the "everyone HATES these two!!!!" would have made all the difference for me. I'm 100% fine with outcast characters, and it makes sense that at least the dog character was. (The plant character was both a prince and a nice guy, so I less buy that everyone in the world hated him. True he couldn't do magic, but that was hidden and the general population didn't know about it.)

Sadly, I won't be reading the next book in this series, but if she keeps publishing, I'd be perfectly willing to give some future book a chance.
Tags: 2015 books, book review, book: flower's fang
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