Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
In book one, we met a group of players and their characters in a tabletop RPG. The characters quickly died, and the story focused on how the NPCs of the RPG world dealt with it. It was great fun and a wonderful idea for a book.
Book two was almost exclusively about those NPCs -- there was next to no crossover with the real world, which was sad since that was a great part of the first book. Instead of trying to cope with their new situations (NPCs thrust into PC roles), they were pretty settled into their new lives now (which, again, was sad: the foreignness of their new roles was another great part of the first book).
The main plot of Split the Party was that these NPCs-turned-adventurers had to deal with a bad guy. Evil mage, cursed item of power, blah blah. There were a few small interesting details, but overall the plot did nothing for me.
In addition to the above issues, there were a few more reasons, big and small, as to why it didn't work for me:
- "Fuck!" For some reason, halfway through the book, characters started saying "fuck" a lot. I have no issues with the word or with cursing, but it felt jarring to me.
- A reviewer on Amazon wrote "The pacing of this one is quite a bit different as well, sauntering at a slower, more controlled clip..." Sauntering is a good word for it. Everything felt slow, like the whole story was dragging. I got bored very early on and never shook that feeling.
- Everything was about action (fighting, "adventuring"), but I wanted to know more about the characters! I really, really wanted to rate this book higher because I like the characters and want to get to know them better, but instead the book felt like nothing but endless fighting (the NPC party battling monsters).
There was a lot I liked about the world this author built (the crossovers between our world and the gaming world, the way the paladin system worked, the way the gods worked), but I had to force myself to read, and by the 70% point started skimming instead hoping for stuff about the characters and finding nothing but action.
Even now, having said that, I find myself still wanting to read the third one so I can hopefully find out more about the characters, but I don't know if I will. My To Read pile is giant, and as I only skimmed the last 30% of this one...