I liked it. I’ll throw 4 stars at Amazon because I hate their social engineering scheme that calls 3 of 5 a “low” rating, but this isn’t a 4-star book for me. It’s solidly middle-of-the-pack.
Make sure you read the afterword. The essay has tremendous emotional depth, vivid writing, and a beautiful the story itself never quite managed. It’s a heart-punch of a read all on its own.
Sounds great, right? Why only three stars? Ahem. Well.
I love cheese popcorn, but it gives me indigestion. Excelsior’s plot didn’t challenge my predictive skills at any point, neither the world-building nor the mcguffins at the center of the action were unique enough to make me sit up and take notice, and the villains were as villainous as Snidely Whiplash. The writing also ticked every annoying prose quirk on my ever-growing list at least once. Saidisms. Characters were always feeling and watching and seeing rather than events just happening. All the shrugging and sitting and turning and shaking heads tired me out. I have no tolerance for “As you may not know, Ms Ratchet, this is the Widget history…” followed by long blurbs of history.
This is a glorious B-movie of a book begging for screen adaptation. The plot holes and basic prose, the shallow character development and time-worn tropes– all those disappear on screen when the pace is fast enough, and this book has pace to spare. Predictable, prosy, over-written stuff can be rollicking fun of done just right, and Excelsior is GOOD fun.
Excelsior does what it sets out to do, and does it well. If the blurb appeals, the story will suck you in and make you want more. I know I’ll be checking out the author’s other series and soon.
The End. Drop curtain.