Saturday, May 5, 2012

Review: "Quest" by Michayla Roth

Title: Quest
Author: Michayla Roth
Available: Amazon
Summary: "Two powers, two quests, two fates...two mortals struggling against the very forces with which they might have aligned themselves, had they been given the opportunity to choose. Two mortals, light and dark, locked into one intense battle. A battle of which the end has already been written in blood. A blood not their own, just as the battle is not their own. And yet, they must fight.
The year is 2E739, the second millennium since Euroclydonus, the last epic battle to shake Wundyrr's foundations. Two thousand years of peace--at least between mortal and spiritual elements--and now, the hidden script of a writing called simply "the prophecy" threatens to immerse the world of Wundyrr once more in a hideous battle, the likes of which could very well rival the infamous Euroclydonus.
Tiernan Lebonn is the single last link between Wundyrr and vitality. Should he fail in his impossible quest to seal evil once more within its fiery prison, the shadow will rise up to devour not only him, but also the world he calls home.
His counterpart, Shiloh of Cheokk, has been steeped in darkness since the day she was born and is bent on winning her own glory through the very disaster Tiernan is trying to prevent.
For either one to claim victory, they must completely lose themselves within the essence of their quests and trust that the powers to which they have surrendered will bear them up in triumph.
But as with any battle, only one can claim the victory. Or perhaps neither can."
Source: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Once again, I see the reviews of others and wonder if we were reading the same book.

This book, and thus this review, are a source of great conflict for me. There is firstly the fact that I want to say every indie book I read is spectacular, but I can't. I hate to not be able to only say great things about a book that has been entrusted to me to review, but I won't lie. That's not fair to anyone.

So. I liked the ideas of this book. I'm a sucker for a Good versus Evil tale. I like epic/high fantasy, as it's long been my first love. I liked the characters as the embodiment of these concepts. I like some of the parallels to Christianity. Big quests are great, too.

I really liked the ideas of this book, but I feel that, for me, the execution of them fell down.

Detail: in EPUB version as read on my dinosaur Sony e-reader, this book was 385 pages.

For the first hundred pages, I found it very over-written and over-drawn. Honestly, if I hadn't felt an obligation to finish this, I probably would have stopped reading it. It struck me as an epic story that was trying too hard to be epic. Every verb, every adjective, every adverb was very active and strong. Taking both "show, don't tell" and "be active, not passive" too far. It's possible, in my opinion, to do.

The characters were overdrawn. Too exaggerated. And repetitive. By page 100, I was thinking: "I got it, I got it. Tiernan is good, faithful, doubts his strength, but has to save the world, he cannot afford to fail. Okay, Shiloh is evil, has been made evil, has her own quest, hates the world, will not fail." I didn't need it repeated every other page.

Now, after that, it started getting a little better. But it wasn't really until after two hundred pages or so that the text finally settled down. Characters and exposition and dialog were still a bit over the top, but it wasn't nearly so bad and I could fall into an easier reading flow.

Unfortunately, it came a little too late. While I started falling into the story more during the final hundred pages, I'd been put off too much and I was just not invested. I didn't really care who won or who lost, or what happened. As such, the ending didn't grab me the way it should have. It didn't surprise me at all.

The pacing felt kind of odd to me, and events that should have been big and dramatic were practically glossed over while scenes that should have been simple were dragged out unreasonably. Scenes, Perspectives, events and characters come in and go out that seem to lack any real build up or point. (Maybe I'm just blind, or just wasn't reading close enough. Maybe they'll come up again in the sequel promised in the Author's Note.)

I would love to be able to say that I fall in with all the other reviews I saw and just rave about it, but it just wasn't the novel for me. Epic stories shouldn't try so obviously hard to be epic. I'm a girl who likes more subtlety in these things. I believe that Roth has talent, but just put too much into this. Had the first couple hundred pages, and some to follow, been streamlined and tightened. With impact used sparingly and a better flow and pace, this would have been just my type of story.

But that's also just my opinion. I am most obviously in the minority on this, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm sure there are many people who won't mind the things that bothered me and will love this book, because it does have things going for it. Still, it wasn't for me and I wouldn't feel honest giving it more than 2.5 Fireballs.

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