Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett. ★★★
Points of Hopes is a fantasy mystery with a historical feel, although it’s set in a different world. In the city of Astreiant, children are disappearing. Rafe is one of the watchmen investigating the case, but there are few clues as to who is taking the children. And in the mean time, the city simmers on the edge of its boiling point.
This book was not suited to me, especially during final exam season. The prose is dense, and my mind kept drifting off as I tried to read. It was also really slow going. I did want to learn what was happening to the children, but so very little happened in the first two hundred pages. I also think that the authors needed to drop more clues as to the solution of the mystery earlier on, since the necessary information came almost out of the blue. Or maybe they did drop a clue and I missed it because I wasn’t paying close enough attention?
Astreiant wasn’t my favorite fantasy setting ever, but I do think it was well developed. The people of Astreiant have an obsession with the stars, which predict everything from your death to which careers would best suit you. It’s also a world that has no trouble with same-sex relationships, which are considered a normal part of society. Both the main characters are bisexual, and while there was no romance in this book, I’m told they get together in the sequel.
It’s hard for me to evaluate how well the protagonists were characterized. I never felt connected to them or had much of a sense of them, but someone who was more engaged in the book might feel differently.
I can see other people liking Point of Hopes, but it didn’t work for me. Something about the writing style didn’t jive, although it’s hard for me to describe it beyond “dense.” I’m not likely to be recommending it, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it either.