Sunday, August 20, 2017

The not so recommended book review

I have been reading since I was very young and have certainly progressed through various reading habits over the decades.  Events in my life influence the materials I am reading, but one thing has always remained steadfast in my reading: I want to read books of principle.  I don't need them to be written well, they just simply need the story to be based on strong fundamentals.  That seems to be a fading spot I have to look for with stronger and stronger lenses these days.

The Waking Land by  Callie Bates

With a 19 year old protagonist, I can see this book being shelved in the young adult section and that worries me.  

I was anticipating this book with much enthusiasm and the promise to myself that I would get the review out ahead of time.  I want to help authors be successful in their work, and I enjoy being able to spread the word when they have a strong piece of literature being published.  Instead I ended up with a story that I've had to brew over the review for awhile so it was balanced.

My very high hopes were destroyed with just one scene in this story.  The story and the magic are easily a possible future or very distant past somewhere on the British isles.  There are standing stones and princes from across the sea.  There are clans that wear body paint and run into battle with cheers.  

I love stories that make an homage to the lore of Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  They are great stories that are very familiar to me and have a lot of room for imagination.  The botany flavor to the fantasy was even a very nice touch that made this book stand apart.

Then we get to the story itself, the writing and the principles.  We will ignore the fact the protagonist is a little weakly written and could use some development help.  We will ignore the fact that the Elanna and Jahan fall in love at first sight giving young girls the impression that that is ever real or that simple.

We will not, however, ignore the fact that this story was ruined in one atrocious scene where Elanna weds the land.  This was a completely unnecessary undertaking for a novel that could quite potentially be housed on the young adult shelves.  This sex scene added nothing to the story and the way the characters handled the situation afterwards was even more atrocious.  Shame on the editors for allowing it past the cutting room floor.

My four stars for the novel went to a 2 and never recommend this story to anyone in one swoop of the pen.  Check back in two weeks for my thoughts on Charlie Holmberg's The Fifth Doll, which I'm a quarter through and already enjoying very much, for a better recommendation on what to read when you don't want to rot your mind.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams

Image result for the iron ghostSome titles just don't make sense until you read them.  This was one of those books.  I stared at this book for a really long time during my reading slump trying to decide if it was worth cracking open.

I had enjoyed the first book with some slight hesitations in the nature of the characters.  Once my reading slump was over, I craved an exciting adventure story.  I felt like this would deliver just that and I had put it off for far too long.

I wasn't entirely disappointed.  This novel had the adventure story, and it even had a mildly nostalgic 80s fantasy adventure feel to it.  This was the quest of all quests for the Blackfeather Three that makes you want to swashbuckle around your living room when no one is looking.  What could go wrong?

Romance.  Not only does it not fit in these stories, each attempt at interjecting it into the story just falls flat.  All of the scenes feel forced and like the novel is trying to appease some editor by throwing it in there during the last round before publishing.  

And we'll just ignore the atrocious amount of editing errors -- the kind where it actually entirely changes the meaning of the story.  Fortunately, I bought it on sale otherwise I would be demanding a refund for the lack of polish presented.  

These are gallivanting mercenaries.  They get themselves into dubious situations of questionable sanity, and I enjoy reading how exactly they manage plan then fail then barely scrape through to victory.  Leave it that way.  Only 2 stars for this one and high hopes that the romance is left in the abyss.