"Burning Cards" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Written by M.E. Patterson
2012, 332 pages, Fiction
Released on March 29th, 2012
In my review of M.E. Patterson's first novel Devil's Hand, I felt that while Patterson was raw (there was an overuse of some words in the book), he definitely had skill and would get better with subsequent books. I love it when I'm right.
Burning Cards, the second in Patterson's "Drawing Thin" series, picks up six months after the ending of Devil's Hand. Our main character Trent has given up working for the demons and instead has turned his attention to finding his lady Susan, who is trapped wandering in the Realms of Shadow. And there's yet another showdown coming, again with the fate of mankind hanging in the balance.
One might think that Trent being in the middle of yet another "THE FATE OF THE WORLD LIES WITH YOU" situation may be a bit unrealistic (all things considered). And if this were Devil's Hand Patterson writing it, I would agree. But this is Burning Cards Patterson, and this man shows more confidence, skill and storytelling technique than the guy who wrote that first novel. So instead of a forced idea of a man who has to save the world just half a year from the last time he did it, Patterson weaves an intricate tale that makes Trent's situation acceptable. Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will get it. I mean, she always had to save the world, but quality writing makes outlandish situations acceptable. And that's what you find in Burning Cards: quality writing.
Patterson's writing really shines in this sophomore effort, and the amount he has grown as an author is quite impressive. Gone are the repeated words and sometimes sloppy fight scenes. Instead we get a more descriptive book on how the characters tie into one another and oh how sweet it is. There were a few times during the reading of this book when my mouth went slack jawed during the reveal of a player's role in the grand scheme of things. It's obvious Patterson isn't writing out of his ass here, and it's quite impressive how these characters are related to one another because he has a plan for all of them and he's bringing it all together masterfully.
While it's not completely necessary to read Devil's Hand prior to jumping into Burning Cards, I highly suggest you do. Not only will it show Patterson's skill improving, but you really will lose out on that magic when you find out the particulars of the characters in the second novel. It's clear that Patterson has this series already mapped out, and I'm confident that the third in this trilogy will be the best yet.