'Writing for me is not about speeling, grammar or punctuation – that’s why we have editors.... No, writing for me is the ability to capture a story and put it in words.' - Fantasy Muse

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Revelyn

Nowadays it seems like I spend half my day on Amazon prowling through the site looking for a decent book and that’s how I came across Revelyn - When the last arrow falls by Chris Ward.

Front Cover





Synopsis


This is an Epic story. The time of the ancient sorcery and magic in the vast land of Revelyn has almost passed; the greatness of the Mountain Dwarves remains only in the tunnels and caverns which, with unmatched skill they fashioned in a past age, and the majestic Edenwhood, a race apart now dwell in lofty AlGiron high above, almost forgotten and lost in legend. Great gifts however still persist with men; but all that is good in valour and love in Revelyn is confronted by an evil which rises from a dark and different realm. Rema Bowman the mighty archer from the Highlands is caught in a web of evil intrigue which seeks his death and that of his love Sylvion Greyfeld for reasons deeply hidden. Zelfos the evil advisor to the royal usurper Lord Petros manipulates all things to his own end, opening a door to vile creatures from the evil realm which spawned him. Abducted, Sylvion is used in a terrible and desperate plan to trap Rema and defeat the Prophecy of the last arrow. Rema is torn by his longing to free his love Sylvion, and the knowledge that his cousin Serenna is in danger close by, and he cannot ignore her need. Unwittingly he finds himself caught in a web of violence fuelled by a return of sorcery to the land. Throughout his long quest, Rema’s love for Sylvion is challenged by many other competing needs, which reveal that he himself is not the person he thought he was. From the simple life in the Highlands, to Gymble’s river barge, to the raging seas in a foundering ship, to the final battle below Mt Vaudim, where the mighty Equin seem invincible, the action never ceases and many twists in emotion and relationship are revealed. The final truth in the desperate quest to save Revelyn takes all by surprise, but when revealed seems right, just as does the presence of the god-like figure of El-Arathor who seems forever entwined in the lives of men. This is a story of love and romance, magic and valour, great gifts and deep loss, in a vast land were the very creatures which roam free hark back to an ancient time where the imagination was less fettered than it has become. The power of the lost Shadow Blade and the amazing featherless arrows of Rema Bowman, finally combine to make a stand against the impossible power of evil, when the last arrow falls.

My opinion


The book starts okay. Not great but intriguing nonetheless. There was a rather blatant typo in the first sentence of the book and did had me thinking - 'what I'm I getting into?' - But I'm glad to say that mistake was more of an anomaly than a common occurrence. There are still mistakes in grammar and sentence structuring but all-in-all the book is well written and those mistakes are hardly noticeable unless of course you're really picky about those things. I know some people are rather critical when it comes to spelling and grammar, but I'm not one of those. Of course I can understand why they would be annoyed; if you're going to spend money on a book, then you can at least expect an author to have ironed out all its mistakes. However, that's easier said than done when you're a published author who has an editor behind you inspecting every word, every sentence and making sure it looks as professional as possible.
That isn't possible with self-published authors, who in most cases are the ones proofreading themselves - which I say is always a recipe for disaster - or manage to rein in help from family and friends. As a result it would be foolish or optomistic to expect a book to be completely and utterly free of mistakes. Of course that doesn't mean published books are free from errors, I've read some noticeable books in the past that have had a spelling mistake or two.

What I'm trying to say is that I've learned to be more forgiving when it comes to spelling and grammar. As my saying at the top of the page implies, what I'm more interested in when I read a book is the storyline and the characters that convey it. I can overlook everything else but those two qualities.

It seems like I've strayed away from my review, so getting back to the book...

Whilst I was reading the book I jotted down a list of what I liked and didn't like:

* It got a bit annoying to read the word 'evilly', for instance – ‘he said evilly,’ ‘he whispered evilly’, 'he looked evilly', etc. It’s a case of telling rather than showing and it’s a trap most indie authors fall into.

* Romantic aspect disappointing. The two main characters are already in love and we miss out on their courting of each other, which can be good thing, sometimes, but we also miss out on the connection between the two and so when you read about how madly in love they are for each other, it feels a bit hollow and superfluous. Which was the case for this particular book.

* I liked the how the author described the characters and settings. I got a clear and vivid picture in my mind when a character or place was introduced.

* The book is long (622 pages or 1340 KB). Normally I appreciate a long book. Not this one however. Every page felt like a chapter and every chapter felt like a book.

I didn't particularly like the ending, it was bland and felt a bit drab.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I can forgive a book its grammatical errors as long as the storyline and characters are great. Well, as you can probably guess by my points above, the story wasn’t good let alone great and I felt disconnected with the characters. So much so that at the end of it I didn't care if any of the characters died in gruesome deaths or if the bad guys triumphed. And I'm guessing that isn't a good sign when reading a book. To be honest, I struggled to finish the book and let out a weary sign when I finished.

I bought the book when it was being offered for free, so I have no complaint against the price but if I had bought it at anything greater than say, £1/$2, then without question I would have been more regretful.

Glancing at the book's Amazon page, it's received only two reviews and they're both 5 stars. I’m not going to question the reviews. As I mentioned in my last post, we are all entitled to our opinions and we each interpret a book in our own way. Having said that, it’s not uncommon for friends and families of authors to give favourable reviews.

Conclusion


Not for me, and I’m glad I bought the book while it was going free. I’m not going to tell you to steer clear of it as I’m only giving you my own opinion and that is the key word here - opinion - not yours but mine. I know in my previous posts I’ve suggested you to buy books that I’ve felt were good but I’m not going to dissuade someone from reading a book just because I didn't like it. I have a lot of respect for authors who put a lot of effort into writing books and it wouldn’t be fair of me to say, for example - “I hated the book! Do not buy it!” - and in doing so denying them potential readers.

I’m positive that while I didn't enjoy the book, there will be others who will (case in point those two 5 star reviews).

My rating out of 10 stars:


4 stars - I was tempted to give it 5 stars (i.e average mark) but for me the book was so long that it felt unending. Condensing the book to even half its original length would have instantly raised it to 5 stars.

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