The Sacrifice by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
A fantasy novel about the invasion of a peaceful island kingdom by a magical race, the Fey, well on their way to conquering the world. But a bloody stalemate ensues when the islanders discover that their holy water can disintegrate the Fey on contact.
What I learned, Part 1 – If you think you may want to publish traditionally please examine the cover of this book. This is a cover that the author fought against tooth and nail to no avail (this original cover makes the story appear to be about crudely drawn elves in love). I am the target audience for the novel (magic, battles, political intrigue), but I never in a million years would have picked this off the shelf. The only reason I bought it was because I am a fan of the author’s blog, she writes especially insightful things about the business of publishing.
What I learned, Part 2 – Find the interesting new angle on the material. Invasions are probably second only to Returns of Dark Lords in terms of how often they appear in fantasy novels. But this book took the interesting tact of giving both sides of the war equal page time. You never quite root for The Fey, but you get to know them on a far deeper level than the bad guys in most books.
What I learned, Part 3 – Too much of a good thing. The author creates conversations that take surprising and combative twists and turns. However these twists and turns make each conversation take quite a bit of time and by the three-quarter mark I was wishing I had the physical book and not the audio-book so I could skip ahead. So a skill that I would have counted amazing if it came up maybe five times in the novel (in the most important scenes) became nearly tedious when used 20+ times.