I’ll admit, that’s one of my favorite tropes; if the immediacy is done well, it multiplies the suspense without the reader catching on. It was hard not to catch on in Blood Orchid. It begins with the same wandering perspective as the first book, briefly touching each character’s mind to remind the reader of “tragic” ending of Black Lotus.
And then Warner proceeds to dwell on those events for the first half of the book. Without warning, at that halfway point, the narration jumps forward twenty years. The characters are still single-mindedly focused on one task, but have yet to have any rational discussion about that task on the page.
As a reader, I don’t generally mind being left in the dark about the protagonist’s intentions — it can often lead to engaging discoveries down the road — but when those characters continue to make the same mistakes and have the same conversations over the course of twenty years, I start to wonder what the plan is.
More so than The Black Lotus, it seems that Warner, too, lacked a plan for Blood Orchid. Like many middle or sophomore books, it was simply a string of events, without an overall arc to the plot.
Full of copy errors and without well developed characters to make those events interesting or entertaining, the book as a whole falls flat.
The Black Lotus left room for redemption and possible success for the Night Flower series, but Blood Orchid failed to seize that opportunity.