Freitag, 3. Juni 2016

First Impressions of 'Royal Deception'

'Royal Deception' is a decent Fantasy novel.

The reader is hooked into the plot fast enough and presented with a conflict to maintain interest. However, a lot of momentum is lost after the first chapter. There is a shift in POV and it's quite unclear for a while what the plot is going to be after this point.

The style is competent and doesn't get in the way. Sadly, a lot of the exposition is rather forward and could have been executed better. None of these issues are glaring enough to ruin the experience, though. The ideas worked into this book are relatively novel and make for an intriguing premise.

If you are looking for a Fantasy story about shapeshifting and social conflict you should check out 'Royal Deception'.

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Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2016

First Impressions of 'The Spectra Unearthed'

'The Spectra Unearthed' attempts a lot of great things but struggles with the execution.

The plot starts off fast and with a chase scene. What is attempted here is to draw the reader into the action. However, the chase is over so fast and the reader is shown so little of the threat that no real tension builds. Instead of being shown why the enemy is dangerous, we are merely presented with an antagonist and told about how he represents a danger.

A lot of the exposition takes the form of as-you-know dialogue. Particularly the main antagonist seems to enjoy explaining the workings of this world to his enemy. The attempts at worldbuilding are hobbled by this rather unfortunate execution. A lot of the exposition feels rushed as if it was of dire importance to get all of the information on this world's magic and political system across in the first few chapters. I feel that the story as a whole would have benefited a lot from focusing more on the chase and doing all the worldbuilding in the process of that.

After reading for an hour I'm not yet able to assign any personality traits to the two female lead characters.

If you are looking for Fantasy that features female protagonists and can tolerate a few misses in the execution you should check out 'The Spectra Unearthed'.

This review is a first impression based on the first hour of reading. For other first impressions of indie and self-published Fantasy check out:

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Montag, 30. Mai 2016

First Impressions of 'The Girl With Red Hair'

'The Girl With Red Hair' is a well-made adventure story.

It's only major weakness seems to be a redundant prologe that delays the start of the plot. However, once that is out of the way the action starts quickly and proceeds at a fast pace. At times, the prose can be a little too flowery, though that is a matter of personal taste. There are no lengthy blocks of exposition breaking the flow which always refreshing.

The story appears to be heavily influenced by P&P roleplaying games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, as a party of heroes and their quest feature prominently in the plot. Depending on your personal tastes this may be a flaw of the book as it may strike you as a tired cliche. It takes a while for some of the party members to show personality traits beyond their function in the party (e.g. 'the healer') but since they are few in number that doesn't become a major obstacle.

If you enjoy Fantasy in the style of a roleplaying campaign and a focus on a party of heroes you should have a good time with 'The Girl With Red Hair'.

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Sonntag, 29. Mai 2016

Review Policy

I want to review your indie or self-pub title! In general, I am looking to review really obscure books and I don't mind to be the first person to review it. However, I am going to be honest and not blindly endorse everything. If you want your book to be reviewed:

- It must be published in self-publishing or with an independent publisher. There may be fringe cases here but in general I am looking for obscure books.

- It must be relatively new.

- It must be Fantasy.

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy at:

Keep in mind that I'll only read the book for an hour and write down my first impressions based on that.

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Freitag, 27. Mai 2016

First Impressions of 'Wrath of the Fallen'

'Wrath of the Fallen' is a decent debut novel.

The plot is too slow to start which is the book's only major problem. The first few chapters are spent on introducing characters and concepts. This is mostly done in a competent way, though there are a few unnecessary bits of very forwards exposition along the way.

The slow start is not improved by the fact that were are told about a lot of awesome things, like cathedrals burning down, angels dying in battle, demons and paladins fighting, and of war among the gods, but are shown preciously little of it. There are some interesting ideas here and the execution is competent, but the pacing of the beginning is simply too slow. The adventure plot promised in the description, which could and should have started on page one, takes several chapters to take off.

The writing is competent and the characters introduced are few and memorable which eases over the occasional infodump and helps coping with the slow pace.

If you enjoy the concept of war between angels and demons in the aesthetic of Christian mythology or the Might and Magic universe, you should enjoy 'Wrath of the Fallen'.

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Donnerstag, 26. Mai 2016

First Impressions of 'Heir to Agon'

'Heir to Agon' falls victim to common and avoidable mistakes.

The plot takes too long to start. The first two chapters introduce characters and concepts that hold no significance to the reader, simply because there is no plot hook to make them interested. Why should we care about the backstory of this man we have known for four pages? The description promises intrigue and a fall from grace, but these things barely rear their head by chapter three.

This is not helped by the extensive exposition. The flow of events is often broken up by entire paragraphs telling the backstory of characters and the world. This is done well before the point where the reader has a chance to care about any of it and it is all told, nothing is shown. The writing of the action scenes often fails to convey a sense of urgency, since it's bogged down by excessive adverbs or needlessly complicated sentence structures.

Some segments of dialogue do a good job at establishing relationships between characters, but they all lack a discernible voice. Guards, mages, and bards all talk alike. The goal of writing a fast-paced action novel is laudable, but is not achieved here.

All of the mentioned issues are common among beginning writers and should not discourage from further practice. They all have well-established cures that can be found in any book / homepage / Youtube video that teaches creative writing.

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Mittwoch, 25. Mai 2016

First Impression of 'Ours is the Storm'

'Ours is the Storm' attempts a lot of interesting things but has problems with the execution.

The start of the plot is delayed by a redundant two-page prologue that expects you to remember six Fantasy names with little context. It kicks in fast enough after that, though. Amnesia is used as a device to start the plot which may cause some eye-rolling. However, there is an attempt to put a twist on the amnesia formula which is one of the many valiant attempts the book makes.

Sadly, the exposition is very blunt, encouraged by the amnesia. The reader is told almost everything about the characters, their motivation, and the world in the form of remember-this-dialogue. While this may be a convenient way to pull off the deception of the main character, it also cripples the book. The protagonist starts out with very little personality and it's hard to be interested in his fate when his sudden badassery kicks in. Up to this point, he has just been a blank slate to be filled by exposition dialogue and has no memorable traits.

If you are looking for stories that revolve around manipulation and deception of the protagonist and perhaps the reader, you may have a good time with 'Ours is the Storm'.

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