Temper by Nicky Drayden

K. Noel Moore

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What is it about?: Nicky Drayden's sophomore effort follows twin brothers growing up on an alternate African continent, where the majority of the population are born twins, and each are marked with a number of vices and a number of virtues, seven of each between them. Specifically, it follows Auben, the "lesser twin" born with six vices and only one virtue. When Auben decides to get religion, his first visit to a holy site ends with him possessed by legendary demon Icy Blue, and he and Kasim find themselves sucked into an ongoing epic struggle between the forces of good and evil.
My thoughts: The back cover doesn't at all do justice to the sheer, epic scale of this book. It starts off tight, focusing on Auben's possession, but by the end it morphs into a mythological battle between the imagined figures Drayden places in the archetypal roles of God and the Devil. Her worldbuilding is well-equipped to handle such a scale; small details within the book hint at a rich history, culture, lore, and even altered geography of this fantastical Africa. Her pacing, however, is less so. My biggest complaint about the book is the jarring changes in pace: the first two-thirds of the book are relatively slow-burn, taking their time to build up suspense, but in the last third, the conflict suddenly explodes to a world-altering scale, and is solved maybe too quickly for such a grand problem. In my opinion it should have been longer, to allow more room for this.
From one to ten, I give....
The quality of writing: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The pace: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The plot: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The characters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The enjoyability factor: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The ease of reading: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Overall: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Would I read more books like this one?: I'm currently reading Drayden's other book, The Prey of Gods, and I'm enjoying it greatly -- maybe even more than this one.
Who do I recommend this book for?: Anyone interested in original myths -- Drayden's are some of the best.
 

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