As per my previous post #SPFBO 2017 I have decided to review the opening chapters of the books in my group, that are free to read on Amazon, and give them a score out of ten.
Now, admittedly, I haven’t done many reviews. That is, I’m not a blogger who reviews books regularly. I read books regularly, and if I have an overwhelming need to write a review because I thought the book was bloody great, then I will. Otherwise, I won’t. I’m not part of any book clubs. I’m a singular reader (now I sound like Christian ‘bloody’ Grey who also had singular desires – sorry I digress!) And yes, before you ask I was one of the gazillion people who read the Grey books. I might write urban fantasy, but I do read a broad range of books, so there!
Anyway, I think the point I am trying to make is that the scores I give must be taken with a pinch of salt. That is, I have no experience of reviewing to any great extent. I’m scoring with my gut. I’m also not one to drop marks for poor spelling or grammar, unless of course it’s so bad it stops the flow of the story. Then, I might be forced to drop a point with my arm twisted behind my back.
Basically, my scores are based on whether I liked it or not, and to what extent. It’s as simple as that really. Like I pointed out in my previous post, I am only reading the excerpt, so the beginning might be particularly good and the rest of the book not so good, and vice versa, but my score can only be based on the opening chapters. I could give a seven for example, when the rest of the book is a ten.
One last, really important, point that I’d like to make is that I think it is pretty ruddy impressive to be able to write a book. It takes A LOT of effort, determination, hair pulling and grit to start a book, let alone finish it, edit it, proof it, get a cover done and publish it. Oh, and don’t get me started on marketing – that is a whole other ball game.
I think when people see the plethora of books available on Amazon there is often the thought that anyone can do it, that it can’t be that hard otherwise there wouldn’t be so many books available. And, to an extent I agree, but only so much as I believe it’s possible that everyone has a book within them. What I also believe, is that not everyone has the balls to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. I hear lots of people say ‘oh, I could do that’ (write a book) as though it’s as easy as brushing your teeth. Writing is hard work, it takes commitment, imagination, perseverance and a little bit of crazy to see it through.
I guess what I am saying is, my scores are irrelevant, because all of the contestants deserve an award for actually doing what other people just talk about. They all deserve a ten out of ten for that!
So, without further ado, here are my first two reviews and their score, for what they’re worth. Should anyone wish to look at a book and make their own minds up, just click on the cover and you’ll be whisked over to Amazon. I am all about helping promote other authors! What might not be my cup of tea, could well be somebody else’s.
The excerpt of The Lost Secret of Fairies is all of Chapter one and a portion of Chapter two. The full book is 104 pages so approx 30k words ish at a guess?
I also want to point out, if it wasn’t already obvious from the front cover, that this is a story for the younger reader (much younger than me lol) but as we all know, lots of adults love to read kids books. I wasn’t going to mark it down just because it didn’t fit my age group! Besides, I am a sucker for YA and Children’s books ( I read all of my daughter’s – she’s 10) and sometimes she reads some of mine, only suitable ones that is!
So, first off, what immediately struck me was Wanda’s voice. She had her own little personality, and was kind of spunky, wanting different coloured hair so that she could be a better ‘outcast’. I liked her immediately. Plus, she liked reading (fantasy) so that was a plus in my eyes! There were references to Alice in Wonderland and the opening scene was very much like Alice following the white rabbit, except it was Wanda following a black bird.
In my eyes, if you are going to emulate another book, what better one than Alice in Wonderland. I thought that this was a very engaging start to a children’s book. The writing was well paced, and I loved Wanda’s ‘voice’ (did I say that already?). I have a feeling that this book will very much follow the weird and wonderful like Alice In Wonderland does… but I am guessing here.
Overall, I was intrigued enough to wonder what would happen next, I loved Wanda’s voice and the opening scene was an easy read, as it should be for the age group. So, I think it is a deserving 7 out of 10.
This excerpt is quite a substantial one – obviously relative to the length of the book which is 354 pages so by my reckoning over 110k? I got to read the prologue, chapter one and two and part of chapter three. Now, some people are averse to prologues. I’m not. This is clearly a big, epic fantasy tale and a prologue is necessary for giving some of the history that leads to the opening chapters. I loved the world building in the prologue, and the map! Any books that have maps are a real plus in my view. It had a real Lord of the Rings / Game of Thrones feel to it and I adore both Tolkien and GRRM so this was a plus in my eyes! I’m an urban fantasy writer so these kind of epic books, with a huge cast and world, dazzle me a little if I am honest. In some epic fantasies there is so much going on that I get lost between the characters and all the flitting about. I didn’t get that with this excerpt which is a good thing for me and therefore a great start in my view.
Moving on. The fight scene in Chapter one. I LOVED IT! It was atmospheric, and gritty and bloody and everything a fight scene should be…. not to mention Havovatch, the seemingly unlikely hero thrown into his first battle against these beasts and then having to assume the role of Captain. Havovatch reminds me of Arthur in Sword in the Stone, an underestimated hero. At the point where the excerpt ends Havovatch has been thrown into the Pit as punishment for impersonating the Captain (ok, so this really pee’d me off – the kid was just doing as asked) so I immediately disliked King Colomune, which I think is the point. I shall hazard a guess that Havovatch will have an integral part to play in this story, as of reading the end of the excerpt I wasn’t sure whether he would become bitter and twisted because of the unjust punishment (and, frankly who would blame him?) or whether he would rise above it and still be the hero I’m hoping he will be?
Don’t know…. but here’s the thing, I want to know and that’s the point. I want to know what happens next. I want to know if the Ikarion will return, or whether we’ll meet the cursed knights again? I want to know what’s up with King Colomune. Bottom line, a great opening few chapters. It certainly had me wanting more and is a deserved 8/10.
Well, these are my first two reviews. Make of them what you will! Next up will be Spark of Defiance and Goblin Fruit.
Until then folks!