Review: “Larkspur,” V.M. Jaskiernia

Pros: Many characters feel flat
Cons: The story has barely begun
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review ebook provided free by author for this review.

V.M. Jaskiernia’s Larkspur, or A Necromancer’s Romance (Larkspur Series vol. 1; Clandestina) is quite short. I realize that’s kind of becoming a new “thing” since Amazon allows prices such as $0.99, and self-publishers are learning to serialize everything so as to drive more sales. That said, it would be nice if the book were long enough for me to feel truly pulled into its world before I hit the sudden, awkward not-really-ending.

So far, Larkspur is about a necromancer who dies and returns. He kills people using his blood; he has a familiar in the form of a black cat who can speak to him. Between him and the person watching over him, and the various servants and apprentices who either understand or are unaware of what’s going on, I couldn’t keep track of where the edges of his powers might be. I couldn’t understand why he did some of the things he did.

There’s a young woman, Elizabeth; they seem to fancy each other quite a bit. She helps to watch over him, and I’m never entirely sure what she knows and doesn’t know regarding the goings-on. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of depth to her so far.

Now, normally I wouldn’t expect to know all of these things yet in such a short piece of writing. But the thing is, if you’re going to break a story off in such short lengths, you need to make the first one stand well alone. The reader ought to at least have a handle on the general shape of the story and world before they have to decide whether they want to buy the next installment. I didn’t get that from Larkspur.

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