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Nice Try, But Misses the Mark
This attempt at fantasy by a new writer didn’t quite hit the mark. There are whole-book issues as well as micro issues. For the overarching issues, I think the most significant problem was that there didn’t really seem to be one major conflict that everything should have been building toward. This made the book feel like it lacked direction and purpose. For me, it was the kind of book that, when I got to the end, I found myself wondering why I had spent the time reading it. Fantasy particularly, I think, really needs a solid structure; we need something it to hold on to when we are propelled into a world that is not like our own. That said, the author did a fairly decent job of world building. The world is believable and interesting. This is the first time I have seen movie-like ratings in the blurb of a book, and it didn’t seem wholly accurate as the book seemed rather tame to me. The danger of using that type of system is that it is generic and not really describe a book. I actually think it would be best classified as a YA novel in general, despite what the rating says.
There were smaller issues as well. I didn’t particularly like the protagonist, and that always helps when reading a book. I thought the author tried too hard to use sensory details to describe things, and this slowed down the pacing of the book as we got mired in long paragraphs of overly detailed language. Some authors can actually pull this off, drawing you into their world through the use of sensory descriptions, but it did not work here. The prologue didn’t really seem to fit with the rest of the book. I do think this world has the potential to be explored in future books, but I think the author needs to grow as a writer to fulfill his visions of the world.