The book's been out for a little while now, and even though the publisher did not initially send out review copies (this has been rectified) there are some reviews filtering out into the world. Of course I read them. On top of that there are readers who go out and buy the thing and read it and then talk about it on their blog. I read those too. I read everything even vaguely related to my book, to be honest. I'm thorough.
There are two general reactions that I'm seeing a fair amount that have me thinking, and I want to react to them in a very public manner. Since I don't have a public way to do such things, I'm going to react to them here on my blog, where my words will rot away into nothingness. As the title implies, there are spoilers herein.
The reaction that I'm seeing a lot that troubles me the most is that Emily, for all her kick-ass-ity ended up as a fairly typical female sidekick who needed to be saved by the hero at the end. It troubles me because it's accurate, and that was not my intention. I want to create complex and strong female characters, so can't help but be disappointed when I blow it. It's called learning, I guess. The reason that things ended up the way they did is because I wanted to screw up Jacob as much as I could. My focus was different. I will say that this was originally pitched as a trilogy, and there are other female characters in the wings that will develop. Should I get to write the rest of the books, that is. No promises.
Secondly, a lot of people wish Jacob had accepted the Avenger's Heart and burned Veridon the fuck down. I understand this. I wanted it to be a hard decision for Jacob. But let's be clear here, Veridon is a city of hundreds of thousands. Do you think they all deserved to die? I mean, we're talking about the atom bomb here, honestly. Jacob wasn't sure what he would have become, what kind of control he would have had. The book was originally called "Darker Angels", a name that came from the short story that described Camilla's origin story. When Camilla is being, ahem, harvested by the Church of the Algorithm she reveals herself as an angel and then goes on to threaten "There are darker angels." Jacob was given the opportunity to become that darker angel, and he declined it because he wasn't sure what it would do to him, to his city, and to the people around him. It was a choice, a difficult choice, and one that he made. Again, the implications of that choice are a major theme in the later books. Again, if I ever get to write them.
Anyway. Reaction has generally been very good. I get a lot of "I read it in two days because I couldn't put it down." While I don't consider myself a very thrilling writer, well, clearly I'm wrong about that. As long as people don't lose sight of the other things going on.