Crossing Mother’s Grave by Jake Elliot
Crossing Mother's Grave by Jake Elliot is the second book in the Heretic series and the follow up to Elliot's debut novel The Wrong Way Down. I did enjoy The Wrong Way Down and was curious to see where Elliot was going with the series, but Crossing Mother's Grave didn't quite meet my expectations. Elliot will need to lift his game for the third book.
The story begins immediately following the events of The Wrong Way down, with priestess Popalia and her mismatched troupe of adventurers hot on the trail of the relic thieves having narrowly escaped their confines in the burning Regulator fort. When it becomes apparent that their quarry has been captured by orcs and imprisoned underground, Popalia leads the party deep into the maze of caverns, banking on a combination of luck, skill and divine will. Though they have little trouble finding their quarry, and though the orcs provide fierce opposition, they are unprepared for the horrors that call these caverns home.
In terms of story, we do not get a great deal of plot progression and world building. It is simple, it is to the point, and it allows the action sequences to take centre stage. About 75% of the book is set in the dark tunnels, reading like one big chase where they are harried from behind and have no idea where going forward will take them. I think this is a good idea, but the action sequences are too few and far between. This isn't an exact measure, but it felt like almost 50% of the book made up of dialogue, walking or resting sequences. There was a lot of long winded dialogue, and I found it hard to maintain my interest on the stretches between action sequences.
In terms of characterisation, we got quite a bit of it which was an improvement on The Wrong Way Down. I felt like I got to know the characters a lot better, I felt like they all had separate personalities and motivations, and I came to like Popalia a lot more than the bratty girl she was in the first book. I'm not in love with these characters, but I am happy that they are no longer caricatures of Dungeons and Dragons roles and races. I think the next step for Elliot will be to find a way to make his characters endearing or at least more relatable.
In summary, Crossing Mother's Grave takes more steps backwards than it does forwards from The Wrong Way Down. There are moments of great writing in there, and technically the prose was consistently of a higher quality (barely any typos or grammatical errors compared to the first book), but I had a really hard time engaging with the story and rarely did I feel moments of tension, suspense, or elation. Elliot is a good writer who has some obvious natural talents, but he needs to work on refining his plot progression and dialogue. Hopefully he can address these issues and bounce back for book three.
This Crossing Mother’s Grave book review was written by Ryan Lawler
Have you read Crossing Mother’s Grave?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Crossing Mother’s Grave reader reviews
Candice from United States
I disagree with Mr. Lawler's review. I found Crossing Mother's Grave to be quite suspenseful. He mentions the group fleeing from Orcs whilst running through pitch dark underground caverns, not knowing where they are heading. In my mind, that IS suspenseful. The dialogue Mr. Lawler finds so cumbersome helps develop the characters, and sets up group dynamics. I came to appreciate Popalia much more, and grew ever more fond of other characters as well. You can read my original review of Crossing Mother's Grave here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/459584720
7.5/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Lord of the Rings
Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ri...
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with ru...
Wheel of Time
Life in Emond's Field has been pretty boring for Rand Al'Thor and his friends until a strange young woman arrives in their village. Moraine is an Aes Sedai, a magic...
Blood Of Elves
For more than a hundred years humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changes, and now the races once again fight each other - an...
The Dark Elf Trilogy
Drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre’s standout characters. But Homeland first rev...
Deep Into The Heart of a Rose
On a crisp autumn morning, in his cottage in the idyllic land of the Vale, Mr. Edward T. Cozzlebottom composed the following letter for his secret love, the graceful and lo...
Crown of Stars
The Kingdom of Wendar is in turmoil. King Henry still holds the crown, but his reign has long been contested by his sister Sabella, and there are many eager to flock to her...
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou'...
Monster Blood Tattoo
Rossamund has always dreamed of a career in the Navy, fighting tentacled monsters and rescuing damsels from hook-handed pirates. But fate has chosen him for a different pat...
Dawn of Wonder
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer wit...
Wards of Faerie
With the discovery of ancient powers, a legend begins... There was an age when the world was young. It was a time before the coming of humans, a time when magic was the dom...
The idyllic life of Princess Inos is disturbed when a god appears, hinting that she will wed. As no eligible suitors ever visit the kingdom, Inos is exiled to learn how to ...
Forging of a Knight
Hugo V Negron
A battle against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow brings an end to an old hero and a beginning for a new one. Together with a half-orc thief named Glaive, a young w...
James A Moore
The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and im...
Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close,...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou' an...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...