Micro-Review: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Micro-Review: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Title: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Author: S.A Barton

This book is a drab, helpless grasp at a tradition it only peripherally understands. In concept it has a lifetime of meaning to share and the potential for some real fun, but it fails to deliver at every level. The writing itself is fairly solid, the technicalities are adhered to, but its competence only highlights its hopelessness.

Micro-Review: Hurricane Hole

Micro-Review: Hurricane Hole

Title: Hurricane Hole

Author: Rebecca Dahlke

This is a book that adheres more closely to the mathematical formula which has taken romance by storm than any other I’ve seen. There is never, ever a hint of deviation from the formula, and to call it formulaic is to use a word which has become so dilute with time that it no longer applies. The only thing it would need to be the perfect mainstream romance would be hot sex scenes, basic copy editing, alluring characters, and, as goes without saying, entry level descriptive or evocative writing.

Micro-Review: Killer Within

Micro-Review: Killer Within

Title: Killer Within.

Author: Jeff Gunhaus

Killer Within is an intensely forgettable book. Its meanderings aren’t the twists and turns of a thriller, they’re just the lazy, meaningless trudging of an aging river.  The polish is better than average for an indie book, but it’s not enough. Its overall worth is barely passable, dullness building to the point where it becomes difficult to finish.

Micro-review: Miss.

Micro-review: Miss.

Title: Miss.

Author: Hattie Holden Edmonds

This book has interesting characters and an illuminative writing style, but not much more. The plot is both trite and inconclusive, with no twists or turns to speak of along the way, and the theater that appears to approach main character status in itself is a very cursory part of the action, encompassing something like 3 scenes in the entire book. The real star of the action appears to be Britain itself, and London in particular, with ostentatiously British additions mentioned almost constantly; if the author weren’t English herself, I would call it a case of self-congratulatory gratuitousness born of excess research, but as it stands I must simply assume she has no idea what constitutes overbearing nationalism.

The Shadow Garden – Allen Houston

The Shadow Garden – Allen Houston

Houston-The Shadow Garden CoverTitle: The Shadow Garden

Author: Allen Houston

Amazon Link: The Shadow Garden

Length: Roughly 370 pages

Reviewer: Shen Hart

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Blurb:

Precocious Lily Blackwood carries a responsibility far greater than other people. As the last female Blackwood, she must keep the evils in Pandora’s Box from destroying the world.
With the help of her younger brother Silas, the dusk riders and her best friend Cassandra, she must protect Nightfall Gardens and ensure that the fairy-tale monsters, old gods and deathly shades stay separated from humanity.

But now, the creatures bound to the Gardens are gaining strength and threatening to break loose. Bemisch, a malevolent witch, has escaped into the mist land to join forces with Eldritch, a powerful nature god. The mysterious Smiling Ladies hold the key to a dark secret from the Blackwood family’s past, and something once again roams the halls of the manor, trying to kill Lily.

Worse yet, her fourteenth birthday is approaching and with it a dangerous rite of passage. Lily must enter the Shadow Garden, home of all that is nightmarish, and come face to face with her most terrifying threat yet.

 

Notecard review:

This is a masterfully constructed second book in a trilogy. The author skilfully reminds the readers of the story in the previous book, while still continuing to develop the characters, world, and moving the plot forwards. The story itself is two pronged and fits together beautifully; each side of the plot is used to add gravity and impact to the other. The characters are flawed and fantastically real in their emotions, and at no point do they read like little children as so many authors with characters this age do. Altogether, I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys MG fantasy, and I eagerly await the final instalment in this trilogy.

Full Review:

There is great skill involved in writing a sequel, particularly when said sequel is the middle book in a trilogy. It’s very easy, and common, to make it wandering and meaningless. This book is anything but. There is no exposition, rather the book dives straight back into the action and continues on where the previous book left off, while still threading in reminders of what’s gone before.

The plot in this book is certainly two-pronged as it follows the two main characters, and both plots twist and turn so as to keep the reader gripped and eager to read more. The separate plots fit together and each acts to add drama and weight to the other while being able to stand entirely alone if it’s required. The way that the author brings in the romantic sub-plots in this book is beautifully done. The character’s choices in potential partner are not as expected, and the progress of the relationships remains realistic and adds some much needed lightness to the ever-present darkness of this book.

That being said, the darkness is very well crafted with clear-cut intentions and plenty more hidden below the surface. None of the characters, no matter how tertiary, are flat. Each of them has a story to tell, and they do so in a way that compliments and adds something to the plot. With that thought in mind, the times where other characters tell their own stories blends into the plot very well. That can be a sticking point in some books, where said stories are dry and unnecessary, but in this case they flow and add flesh to an ever-increasingly complex plot.

On a technical level, this book shines. There were a few small typos, but nothing to really be concerned with. The entire thing flows from scene to scene, and as mentioned above, both sides of the plot are firmly entwined, which means that there’s no jolt when moving between them. The pacing is exactly as it needs to be with a fantastic crescendo and carefully-constructed ending that wraps up everything it needs to while leaving the reader needing to read the final book.

This book’s, and ultimately the author’s, real strength is in the comparison between the humans and the non-humans, between the darkness and the light. It is in those contrasts and the reminders that no one and nothing is pure one way or the other. The games that are played, the lies and truths that are told add a real depth to the entire story. That means that this book is much more than idle escapism, and it has much to make it appeal to a wide audience.

In summary, this is a very well-constructed book that shines on a number of different levels. The plots are intriguing, complex, and thoroughly entwined in the best possible way. The pacing is superb, and the characters are real with personalities that leap off the page, no matter how large or small a role they play in the book as a whole. The Shadow Garden doesn’t even come close to falling into any of the usual problems found in second books. It’s a very enjoyable read that many people will no doubt enjoy re-reading multiple times. I highly recommend it.

From The Sky: Arrival – David McGowan

From The Sky: Arrival – David McGowan

Title: Arrival

Author: David McGowan

Amazon Link: From the sky: Arrival

Reviewer: Michael Keenan

Point at which I would have quit: 30%

2 Non-Rising Non-Actions out of 5

 

Notecard Review:

 

Arrival is a distinctly disinterested book. It seems bored, meandering, bespeaking an author that cares neither for the book nor the readers. Its pacing is horrible, its narrative structure is an abomination, its characters are flat, and its only redeeming features are its remarkable contempt for the reader which expresses itself in ways that could almost be called profound and the linguistic skill that brought it and the authorial voice in general through loud and clear.

If only that voice had something to say.

 

Full Review:

 

There are many books that seem to show a strong contempt for their readers. It’s rare, however, for a book to illustrate in granular and redundant fashion a broad, personal contempt for human beings generally, for every man, woman, and child living out a dim and perilous life on our spiteful little orb.

I guess that makes this book special, which is good for it, since nothing else really does.

That’s not the book’s real problem, however, and if anything serves to distract like a mild case of poison ivy on the lacerated chest of a dying man. I am frequently known to say that a book is a quintessential series opener when it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, favoring impotent wandering and exposition. This is like that, or rather like the Super Turbo Ultra Limited Edition© Edition of that. While it does distinctly move somewhere, offering exposition only where necessary, it still somehow manages to remain strongly in that peculiarly modern exposition/rising action hybrid popularized by early-20th-century genre hacks and now teeming over the commercial fiction market in the sort of Grey Goo Scenario that characterizes the pseudo-cultural meanderings of popular entertainment perfectly.

It’s not an irredeemable technique, mind you, and it wouldn’t be hard to argue that it is, at a fundamental level, superior to the tyranny of Freytag and the legion of ill-educated compulsory education participants thronging innocently at his feet. Still, one ideally doesn’t want to make an entire book out of that, and Mr. McGowan has very clearly done so in this case.

Now, being that this is a trilogy, your first instinct (being the well-informed and thoughtful student of the medium and its parasitic commercial arm that you are) will no doubt be to assume that this is a single book that has been split into pieces to maximize profits at the expense of quality or logic. And that might be true. I would certainly be altogether unsurprised. That being said, even if that’s the case and you were, perhaps due to a debilitating mental illness, to keep an eye on this series until a box set is released in which you can read it as the actual single book it may well have been intended as, you would still be left with an entire third of a book made up of introduction, a painful and costly consequence of your terrible decision.

Still, we must examine the book for more than its pacing, mustn’t we? Let’s go through the list, then. Characters who have replaced personality and charm with grit and fatalism, a world devoid of hope and humanity, carefully-timed death to tug at our heart-strings with all the force and impact of a cricket playing the harp, and a plot that was already used up, spit out, reused, and thrown away when L. Ron Hubbard was just a guy with too much body odor and no negotiating skills? Check. Meaningless prose going nowhere and saying nothing as if taunting us with the amount of our time it’s devouring? Big check. Use of language with no style, flair, or sense of verbal skill or linguistic education? No check, actually. I’m going to give it that – the use of language was pretty good, and it strongly contributed to the authorial voice which came through loud and clear.

Still, what we’re left with in the end is a stillborn repetition of something we’ve all seen before, a failed cloning operation too foregone to call an experiment. The pacing is criminal, the characters are meaningless, the plot has nothing to add, and to try and dig out any message more complex than Give me money!  is at the vertex of self-deception and self-flagellation.

All in all, I can’t recommend this for anything but the undercurrent of contempt. You know. If you’re into contempt.

 

Michael is the court jester in the kingdom of truth. He combines a biting sense of humor with a lifetime of editing knowledge to craft reviews that are equal parts literary critique and insult comedy. Cruelty and veracity are his image of self.

The Spirit Room – Michael Cairns

The Spirit Room – Michael Cairns

The Spirit RoomTitle: The Spirit Room

Author: Michael Cairns

Amazon Link: The Spirit Room

Length: Roughly 370 pages

Reviewer: Michael Keenan

Rating: ♥♥

Blurb:

The Avengers meets Magician, The Planets Series is superhero conflict on a global scale…’

An ancient cadre of magicians
A select team of extra-ordinary warriors
An unseen foe

As two ancient forces battle for control, reality as we know it is being torn apart. Caught somewhere in the middle, and tasked with ridding the world of the insidious alien intelligence are The Planets. Neptune hails from Rio, the gay daughter of strict catholic parents. Mars, from Ireland, still missing the sister he lost years ago. Uri grew up on the streets of New York, and Venus… well, no one knows and she isn’t telling. Imbued with extra-ordinary powers, these highly trained individuals take the fight across the globe. With startling and unnerving revelations at every turn, the depth of deception is only now becoming clear…

 

Notecard Review:

This is a book for people who enjoy confused superhero books. When you dig down to the core of this book, the ideas have some potential to be interesting. Unfortunately, the plot itself is weak and confused, the characters are underdeveloped, and the book comes together like a malformed jigsaw. There are moments in which the potential shines through and it becomes almost compelling, but they are few and far between. If this book were rewritten with the help of a good developmental editor, then it could be very enjoyable. As it stands, it needs a lot of work and reads more like a first draft.

Full review:

The primary takeaway from this book is confusion. The book opens in the middle of some action, which is usually fantastic, but it assumes that the reader knows about the characters and world at hand. It’s the first in the series, but it reads more like the second or third book. Unfortunately, that’s never cleared up. The author drops the reader into the middle of the chaos and just carries on without a care in the world. This means that there’s a lot of information that is just thrown out and abandoned, because somehow the reader is just meant to know.

That confusion then extends out into the plot structure itself. I have to wonder if this author used the beat system or something similar, where they construct a framework of scenes that dictates that certain types of scenes come at certain points in the book. This means that the chapters would jump from intense action into something emotional from a character’s backstory, over to a modern day romance scene, back into some conspiracy and world-building. It completely threw out any potential for reasonable pacing or flow, and that only got worse later in the book. The author clearly wanted to place certain ideas in the reader’s mind and convey particular bits of backstory, but it was a cluster of ideas and standalone scenes that were haphazardly glued together.

On the topic of glued together, the characters had very little development and really didn’t work all that well as a team. The fact that it was difficult to remember who was who really didn’t help things. There were attempts at emotional development, but they fell flat, much like the action scenes. In both cases, they were quite contrived and lacked any impact due to a complete lack of investment in the characters on the reader’s part. They were names that flew around and did stuff while I, as the reader, attempted to figure out what on Earth was going on and why I was supposed to care.

The broad concepts and core ideas of this book hold potential. They’re not particularly new, but they have some potential to be fun and interesting were they carried off well. If a good developmental editor were to strip this back, then it could become an enjoyable book. As it stands, it needs a lot of work. On the grammatical side of things, it was reasonably tidy; I saw a few small errors later in the book where the author seemed to be in more of a rush.

That brings us around to the ending, with the contrived, frustrating final scene. It made no sense and went against what had been established earlier in the book. Things came out of nowhere and were then shrugged off. Any impact that it may have had was laughed off at the absurdity of the entire thing. That and the epilogue were just the final chapters attempting to wrap things up; they weren’t what would traditionally be called an epilogue.

In summary, this book was a collection of “what the hell just happened there?” moments that were thrown together in a sloppy fashion, along with a heap of assumptions and a fair dose of shrugging. The best moment was where the characters acknowledged the plot holes and just wandered off. Sure, they’re there, but what does it matter? The reader’s already three quarters of the way through the book…  This book has potential, but it needs to be stripped back to its bare bones, expanded, and brought together into a coherent narrative that makes sense.

 

Reviewer Bio:
Shen stalks innocent stories down dark alleys where she dissects them, revealing the bare bones and silky threads. She is driven by the need to sate her readers’ lust, their addiction for new books to ravage. She is, the Review Hart.

Earth Three – Richard Ross

Earth Three – Richard Ross

Earth Three indie book reviewTitle: Earth Three

Author: Richard Ross

Amazon Link: Earth Three

Length: Roughly 251 pages

Reviewer: Michael Keenan

Rating: One gelatinous meh out of five.

Point at which I would have quit had I not been reviewing it: 1%

Blurb:

David has lived all the twenty-two years of his life inside spaceship Columbus, which is the only world he knows. His destination is Earth Three, an Earth-like planet with harsh weather and life-threatening conditions, inhabited by humans for thousands of years. The only evidence that there are people still living on Earth Three is a hostile message received a few years before Columbus took off from Earth.

As Columbus approaches its destination, after a sixty-five years journey through the universe, David and his group are daunted by the hostile message and the dangers that they may face on Earth Three, both from the planet itself and from its inhabitants.

When they finally land on their new home, all their fears come true.

 

Notecard Review:

 

This is a really, really bad book. The characters are indistinct; the plot is predictable, dry, and emotionless; the setting is colorless; the language is very distinctly non-native and entirely un-edited; and above all else the amount of thought put into it is closer to a D assignment written the night before the due date in a high school creative writing class than it is a published book.

It’s kind of a fun read in a so-bad-it’s-good way, and it has a certain charm, but nonetheless I would avoid with extreme prejudice.

 

Full Review:

 

This book is, more than anything, characterized by authorial indifference. Every part of it is permeated by a gelatinous glop of meh. Does technology need to have advanced in the millennium since modern times? Meh. Do the characters need to have basic knowledge of anything? Meh. Does the plot need to have any twist or uniqueness? Meh. Meh. Meh. Meh.

The space ship appears to be of varying size, at times seeming small and cramped, but at others we find it big enough to have hidden rooms, fields and pasturage for growing food the old fashioned way, training grounds for combat, actual houses somehow in the mass of space that fits inside a ship that is noted as small from the outside. Perhaps they stole Doctor Who technology?

They also seem to have been given no preparation for the mission. There’s no planning in place for how to deal with things they are quite certain they’ll face, no firm sense of organization, and not even a broad educational base to serve the purposes of a self-contained vessel meant to hold a breeding clutch of human beings for the better part of a century.

The moment that sticks out for me is when they’re trying to figure out the contents of their armory, which has apparently not been catalogued in any way. They’re actually sitting there counting things, and half the crew is surprised to find they have an armory at all.

I just picture this guy tossing M16’s onto a spaceship like an airplane baggage thrower, getting tired of it and just walking away pushing the M16 cart in front of him. Some guy stops him, like, “How many weapons did you put on, sir?” He kind of shrugs, only half listening, and the guy’s like, “Well, how many do you think they’ll need?” He makes that burbling noise with his lips and is like “Iiii… dunno. Didn’t really think about it. Can you run these M16’s back down to the M16 heap and make sure not to log them in for me?”

The whole trip is just littered with stuff like that, a sense that this was thrown together on a whim, an interstellar trip 65 light years from Earth made with the kind of preparation a disorganized single father dedicates to a weekend fishing trip.  Even the technology seems to have developed in the most random way possible. The guns and farming techniques seem, if anything, to be behind ours – they seem pretty certain that 500 yards is outside their rifle range (but inside wooden bow range), and they’ve brought recurve bows along for the ride, presumably having totally meant to pick up some compound bows at the store but, like, completely spaced it, man.

Indeed, the millennium-plus period between our time and theirs appears to have afforded them next to no technological advancement in areas outside of spacecraft propulsion. A massive war having destroyed our homeworld, they apparently accomplished none of the weapons development which has accompanied every single moment of human militancy since the advent of the javelin. Perhaps there were treaties stating that no one could learn anything for that period, least of all hydroponics or logistics.

After all, that would violate the code of meh.

I won’t pick too much on the language, since the writer is very visibly a non-native, but I’m mentioning it for two reasons. Number one, writing this haphazardly and then inflicting it on the rest of us is needlessly cruel, like making shitty food and then dumping it, still boiling, on passersby without bothering to eat it yourself (and after all, why would you want to?). Number two, it’s bad enough to completely undermine what little charm the piece has. It gets worse and worse as the piece goes on, passing from “pretty obviously non-native” to “frequently re-reading phrases to glean the intended structure” backed by a chorus of half-hearted meh.

The plot is a target; that late-afternoon dreariness that’s dull and predictable but not so much that one can get worked up about it. Its predictability, and the humor which can be thereof derived, is one of the few things that the book has to its credit, but even that is somehow destroyed by the tortoise-slow relation of its thin and undetailed framework. By what I would, a year ago, have called a miracle but am now forced to admit may just characterize our entire industry, it manages to be both slow-paced and underdeveloped, sitting at a strange crossroads of needing both expansion and contraction. I picture a series of editors reading it and just hanging themselves, knowing that they can’t afford to lose the job without giving up the desperate search for ways to feed their kids but at the same time being painfully aware, indeed haunted by night and by day, by the reality that there simply isn’t anything to be done.

That, or they saw what they were working with and were just buried in meh. 

The characters, colorless and frequently indistinguishable as they might have been, were probably the high point. They at least had a few good lines, they drove the plot without seeming contrived (by and large), and they began to bring out the world. Began, I emphasize, because the book ended well before we started to get a feel for things. Well, I say ended. It stopped telling the story. I won’t spoil it for you, in case someone is foolish enough to throw themselves headfirst into the gelatinous meh, but prepare to be disappointed.

All in all, there’s next to nothing to recommend this book. It’s painful to read because of the language alone, and the story itself is half-hearted and ill conceived with the very strong hallmarks of something that just didn’t mean much to anyone in the process. It very nearly reaches the two-star mark, but there’s just too much terrible garbage weighing it down, and even if we can say it has some saving grace, it’s too painful to dig into to matter.

I guess what I’m saying is… meh.

 

 

Reviewer Bio:
Michael is the court jester in the kingdom of truth. He combines a biting sense of humor with a lifetime of editing knowledge to craft reviews that are equal parts literary critique and insult comedy. Cruelty and veracity are his image of self.
Do you want Michael to edit or review your book? Email him here!

Wanted – Nick Stephenson

Wanted – Nick Stephenson

Wanted by Nick Stephenson Indie book review thrillerTitle: Wanted

Author: Nick Stephenson

Amazon Link: Wanted

Length: Roughly 274 pages

Reviewer: Shen Hart

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

 

 

Blurb:

Nowhere to hide…

What should have been a relaxing vacation in Paris turns into another unwinnable situation for expert criminology consultant Leopold Blake. Caught in the cross hairs of a ruthless assassin and on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit, Blake and his team must fight to clear his name before it’s too late.

As enemies close in from all sides, Blake is about to learn who he can trust – and who is determined to destroy him – as The City of Light becomes a new hunting ground. Wanted is another exhilarating instalment in the Leopold Blake series of thrillers, which can be read and enjoyed in any order.

Notecard Review:

This is a book for people who enjoy fast-paced thrillers with a protagonist who falls somewhere between Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes. This is a very utilitarian book that fulfils everything that’s required of it as a thriller, and not much more. The plot is tight and provides some insight into the surrounding history and characters, but it remains clearly an opening book for a series. That being said, it’s still interesting, the characters play their rolls very well, and there’s a lot left to be explored. All in all, it’s a well-written book that’s sure to appeal to lovers of tight thrillers.

Full Review:

There’s no denying that this book does everything a thriller needs to do. There’s a cast of familiar yet interesting characters, fantastic pacing, good flow, and, of course, plenty of action. The author clearly has quite a bit of knowledge of both firearms and combat, given the carefully chosen details for those scenes, which were used to add something to the overall plot and the characters involved at the time. That comes together to form a tight, fast-paced thriller that a lot of people will no doubt enjoy. With that out of the way, we can delve into some of the finer details.

Details are something that this book is lacking. It’s very utilitarian and only gives the bare essentials with regards to information about the plot, the history, and the characters. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does give it the feel of the opening to a series (which it is), and it could bug some readers. The only real details that were given related to guns, which will no doubt be of interest to those who knew more about guns than me. The lack of details didn’t really remove much from the story, but it did leave it feeling a bit shallow and makes it a quick read (in both a good and a bad way).

The shallow nature of the plot means that it doesn’t give much to the reader. It doesn’t really contain a message or make itself particularly memorable. It does, however, mean that it moves quickly and will have the reader eager to turn the next page. That brings us around to the characters. Unlike a lot of books that I’ve reviewed, they are distinct and have clear voices. The author did a notably good job of introducing Leopold Blake; it gave great insight into his personality and attitude towards things. Generally, the characters aren’t particularly developed, but there are still clear-cut personalities with drives and histories there. The lack of details mentioned above means that it’s a little difficult for the reader to attach themselves to the characters, but the carefully crafted plot and methods of building tension make up for that.

The opening was a little slow and very fact driven; that fortunately gave way to something with excellent pacing, flow, and consistency. The very short chapters are something that could bother some readers, but they do keep the pacing and allow the story to be multi-faceted and draw on multiple threads in a small space. That means that the plot is densely packed and offers some twists and turns. That all leads up to an ending that’s satisfactory, if a touch predictable.

All in all, this is a very well written thriller that will appeal to a wide range of people. The shallow nature of it means it’s a quick read that isn’t particularly memorable, but it is fun and works quite well as the opening gambit for a longer series. The characters are close enough to standard tropes to be familiar and comforting while still bringing something of their own to the table to stop them from being boring. This is a great book for people looking for some fun.

 

Reviewer Bio:
Shen stalks innocent stories down dark alleys where she dissects them, revealing the bare bones and silky threads. She is driven by the need to sate her readers’ lust, their addiction for new books to ravage. She is, the Review Hart.

Power Play – Jeremy Croston

Power Play – Jeremy Croston

Power Play Ice Hockey Norse Mythology Book Review Jeremy CrostonTitle: Power Play

Author: Jeremy Croston

Amazon Link: Power Play

Length: Roughly 240 pages

Reviewer: Shen Hart

Rating: ♥♥♥

Blurb:

Ice Hockey meets Norse Mythology

Meet Jack Skelton – hockey player, drinker of fine beers, and most importantly potential trigger to Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse. The problem is he has no idea until he accidently ends up in Asgard thanks to the Trickster, Loki.

Join in the adventure as Jack tries to survive in the hostile realms right of the very mythology they are based. As he encounters old gods, dark elves, and cruel fates, Jack needs to figure out who he can trust and who is out to kill him…or worse. Action, love, and mystery await us as we follow along for the ride. Ragnarok is coming; is there anyone who can stop it?

 

 

Notecard review:

This is a book for hockey enthusiasts who want to make an amusing foray into the world of Nordic-based fantasy. Hockey is clearly an important part of this book, despite it having little to no relevance to the actual plot. The characters are all flat and speak with the same voice, which leads us to the fact that this is one of those books that is so bad it’s good. With some polish, it could work as a reasonable satire/parody. As it stands, it’s a flimsy attempt at fantasy that will make the reader smile at it, rather than with it.

Full Review:

The opening seems like a good point to start. The first two chapters really set the scene for the book that’s to follow; that is to say that they focused on hockey and didn’t say much of anything about the characters. The author’s clearly a rather large fan of hockey, as it keeps popping up in the story, out of the blue, for no reason. The main character is laughable in his tone and views of the entire world. His reactions and thoughts on the fantasy he finds himself in are entertaining, despite their apparent attempts to be a serious fantasy.

The voices of the characters are closer to one single voice. Those who aren’t the protagonist speak as though the protagonist is playing them like sock puppets; now that it’s been mentioned, their actions are like that of sock puppets too. They appear when it’s convenient to the protagonist, and the romantic subplot is close on hilarious. It is entirely nonsensical and reads more like a boy’s daydream than something that could occur in real life. The surrounding characters are as mentioned above, much like sock puppets in that their actions are predictable and entirely focused back on the protagonist. He’s not quite a Marty Stu, but close enough to mock protagonists in more serious mythological fantasies.

On the topic of mythology, this book will bother those who like stories to remain close to the original myths. The author picks and chooses snippets that appeal to him, then bends the rest to fit into his world, entirely disregarding how they were portrayed originally. It should be noted that there isn’t much sense or logic in the world. The world building is basic at best, and a lot of plot points hinge on the protagonist putting together things that any of the other characters could have done years ago. For example, a secondary character just happens to have everything required to take down a longstanding enemy, sitting there, in their shed.

As can be expected at this point, the pacing and flow aren’t very good. The author had a bad habit of wandering off into hockey related stories that had no relevance to the main plot and sat in the middle of the flow like large, ungainly pucks. The focus shifted from chapter to chapter, and that led to a rushed yet slow-paced affair. The plot was very simple, and the details were kept to an absolute minimum, which left the author to focus on the beloved hockey stories and bizarre romantic subplot.

At a technical level, there weren’t many typos, but there were some grammatical issues and homophone or near-homophone problems (conscious versus conscience). Outside of that, the consistency remained quite good.

In summary, this book is one that’s so bad it’s actually quite enjoyable. I found myself laughing at it despite its efforts to be serious. If it were to be polished and tweaked, it could no doubt make a reasonable satire, but it will bother those who enjoy something more serious and close to mythology. On a technical level, it was good from a copyediting standpoint, but on the developmental side it was nothing short of laughable. This might appeal to hockey lovers, though…

 

Reviewer Bio:
Shen stalks innocent stories down dark alleys where she dissects them, revealing the bare bones and silky threads. She is driven by the need to sate her readers’ lust, their addiction for new books to ravage. She is, the Review Hart.