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...
A Threat of Shadows
Do some choices change us too much for us to ever change back? There was a time when Alaric was a Keeper, one of the men entrusted with counseling the queen, protecting the pe...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive in the endless white wilderness beyond the edges of a fallen world. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As the memories of her old life continue to haunt, she...
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her al...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...