October 23rd, 2012


The Mysteries of a Large Bank

One of the oddities of working at a large bank is that, since I am doing reports that are viewed by far more people, I get a lot more questions about them. Naturally, I also get more of the same questions, over and over again, from different people.


And then there are the mystifying questions.


Loan Officer: "Why is this loan on my past due list? It's not matured!"
Me: "... because it's past due? Just like the other past-due-but-not-matured loan on your list of three past due loans?"


Loan Officer Assistant: "Why isn't Loan 123 on the matured loan list? It's matured! Oh, and so is 456. Why aren't they there?"
Me: " ... um. They are on the matured loan list. Right where they are supposed to be?"


I got nothin'.


The Demon's Surrender, by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is the third of Brennan's "Demon" trilogy. I enjoyed it; the character relationships are wonderfully well-drawn and satisfying. I love the way Brennan depicts their struggle for understanding, of each other and themselves. It gives the victories and epiphanies in the various relationships solidity: they do not feel either trite or easy.

There were various things I did not like. I had resigned myself to a new PoV character for this book -- I figured Brennan had changed for the second and would change again for the third. But as I found all four major characters interesting at this point, I figured all right, whoever it is will be someone I want to see from the inside.


No, it will be a boring minor character from the previous two. With a petty and boring ambition as a major plot thread.


In fairness, as the narrator, the character does become interesting and likeable in her own right, so okay on that front.

However, the reason the PoV character switched in book two was, by the end, obviously 'because the other characters all have interesting secrets the author wants to save for the Big Dramatic Reveal'. So it's clear to me at the outset that Minor Character has been recruited for narrator duty because all four major characters have interesting secrets. In books 1&2, at least parts of the Big Reveal caught me by surprise. In book 3, nothing does. I am not complaining about the lack of surprises! A good book does not need to surprise the reader, and I was not reading this for the thrilling plot twists: I was reading it for the fascinating character interactions. My problem here is that I feel like Ms. Brennan was sacrificing giving me insight into the characters (which is what I cared about and what she does best) in favor of setting up easily-foreseen plot twists. I'd rather have been inside the key characters' heads and seen them plotting and fretting that their plans were going to come to nothing. In a related vein, some of the events just didn't make much sense to me, particularly in the realm of 'why did this character wait until now to do X'. Where I could see what the delay had cost, but not what delay had gained, or why the character would want to delay. I think of this as "Hollywood syndrome", where events are laid out for maximum drama regardless of what makes sense. I wish more authors were willing to sacrifice drama for the sake of coherency. Nothing against drama, but coherency is sadly underrated.

Anyway, this is enough complaining about a trilogy that I am overall very pleased by. The characters are endearing, flawed, and clever when it counts. There is plenty of interesting drama that hangs together well. I'll rate the final book an 8, and I'll be happy to read more by the author.

Next up: more of the Aubreyad! Should be a nice palette-cleanser after the intense emotional content and drama of the last few books. :)