Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke by Connie Bailey
Length: 300 pages
Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them. When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.
I think this is one of the first, if not THE first novel that I've been unable to rate.
A little history: I started this book a while ago, got about 40% of the way through and just ran out of desire to read it. The writing wasn't too bad, the characters had potential for being interesting, and the world that was being crafted had potential for being very interesting.
So why did I come to a dead-stop and not pick it up for several months?
Several factors are involved. One, the story is dark, which isn't a problem per se but does make for a more challenging read. The writing was good, but not very concise, so as I read it felt like very little progressed over time, to the point where to actually finish the novel, I read very quickly, skipping large chunks of text (which is why I'm not rating this book, as I don't think I can fairly judge this heavy of a book without having read it thoroughly).
I feel the concept was strong and the characters and the plot were all interesting, but the progression over about 20 years felt almost grueling as everything was built and put into place. While I can understand the necessity, it was difficult for me to sink into the story as I felt like I was being dragged down a dark tunnel and unsure if I would survive the encounter.
Still, I'm not sure if shortening the novel (time-wise) would have worked. However, cutting some scenes and making others more concise would have helped. Characters are introduced and then killed off without showing much importance to any events or character development.
This is a pretty dark and overall depressing novel, although the end is satisfactory, if not a little too neat.
In the end, while I didn't particularly enjoy this book, I'm glad I finished it. I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone, but I wouldn't actively talk someone out of reading it, especially if it seems to be their type of book (enjoying in-depth tales of espionage, spying, murder, assassins, etc).
Positives of this book? I love the cover. It's beautiful, classy, and artistic, while incorporating multiple elements of the story. Also, I never really knew how things would turn out, which is definitely a bonus in this type of tale. Finally, although most of my comments about this book have been negative, this is definitely one you'd have to look into on a case by case basis.
Requested this book for review.