I was provided a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review; as always, what is written below reflects my true opinions of the work.
I rate this novel 3.75/5. Here is my breakdown:
Characters: 4.5/5. This was a real strength of the work. Blanton creates a single protagonist, Frank, and gives him a deeply fulfilling and interesting story to back up what he does. He is far from perfect, but is human enough that we care about his mistakes, his attempts at starting over, and we wince when he falls short. The curse he falls under does nothing to change that essential fact. The other, minor, characters are equally interesting in their roles. Blanton has no "cardboard cut-outs," but a fascinating world peopled by...well, people!
Plot/Storyline: 4.0/5. Another strength here. The plot flowed smoothly, quickly, and well; I was only at all thrown off toward the end, when the passage of time started to occur more rapidly and we flipped to other people's viewpoints, but this was not a big deal to me. I enjoyed Frank's story and watching him develop through tragedy after tragedy, and the idea that he was cursed to immortality by watching people (children!) die was really, really cool. Is that bad? <.< >.>
Flow: 4.0/5. No issues here. The story moved well and the sentence structure and descriptions made me happy. I liked the environments Blanton used as well as the language choices.
Spelling/Grammar: 3.0/5. Here was the only real weakness in the novel, but because I noticed it, it was important. There were several places where the wrong version of "their-they're-there" was used, and a few instances of "double word," like "had had." It did not detract from the story for me, but it might for others.
Overall: 3.75/5. I enjoyed this novel and definitely would read the sequel; it felt like a "set-up" story for whatever came after, as the real "meat" didn't show up until toward the end...and then the book was over. Character development is done now; let's see what happens!
Jason P. Crawford