By Cynthia Bujnicki
Saran and Keleir’s paths converged the moment she was able to subdue the demon inside him. However, he always struggles with it, eager to see it gone, eager to redeem himself for the bloodshed it caused. However, there is more, a prophecy that he will become the Living God. However, when Saran’s magic is stolen from her, Keleir begins a slow descent into darkness and Saran must confront her tyrant of a father, and deal with the rebellion she started all while trying to save the man she loves.
The Living God is a frustrating novel. Not because it is terrible or poorly written, it is neither of those things. It has an incredible opening and a great ending, but there is this massive chunk in between that makes the novel so incredibly dull. Moreover, the reason it is dreary is that there is a big problem with the pace here.
After an effective fast-paced beginning, the novel dives. The reader’s eye is pulled into multiple directions as it follows Saran and Kelier, and other characters as they set out to help the rebellion. This should be fast paced, the momentum to keep up with the opening and the ending, but it does not. It is appealing but drags, which is such a huge problem here because there are interesting bits in the novel. Some of those fascinating bits also serve as a disservice to this story. Platt devotes much time to history in this novel, and that history is far more interesting than the current story. It is so compelling that it makes this novel feel more like a sequel than the start of a series. The history between the characters, whom they were before meeting each other, would have made a more exciting novel because then that would have been the focus and then this story probably would have been allowed to flow better. Instead, this novel feels like Platt is trying to world build all at once, get the history in, and set off the series all in one go. It is not like that has not been done before, but here, it just did not work.
Another hindrance of the story is the science fiction aspects of the novel. This is an opinion but when one has set off a story or labeled it as an epic high fantasy, stay in that niche, do not go bringing in parallel universes and science fiction into the mix, at least not without the proper establishment. Another reason this novel feels more like a sequel. Platt is trying to incorporate science fiction here, but it is not working. It breaks the already slow pace of the novel and takes the reader out of the story. Once she begins to do that, furthering the world building, it twists the story up and no longer feels like the high fantasy story it is supposed to be. The reader cannot suspend their disbelief and lose themselves once Platt does this, or at the very least, she makes it challenging for the reader to be able to do that.
This novel would have worked out so much better had it been split into two. Then book one could have been character establishment and world building and then this novel wouldn’t have to focus so much on that and could just move along at that tension-driven pace because the ending is so good, it’s riveting in fact, but that vast chunk in the middle, it’s a strong deterrent because the pace is as slow as a snail crossing the road. (★★★☆☆)