Thinblade (Sovereign of the Seven Isles Book 1), By David Wells
Rating: 2 stars
A brother is killed, a necromancer comes out of a stone, and bad stuff happens. That’s as far as I got into this book. 10%.
Should I rate a book that I couldn’t finish? I’ll leave that up to you, but after grinding through this for a few days, I feel like I need to say something about it.
This book is painful to read. The writing style is stunted, littered with short, declarative sentences that don’t vary. I wrote down a couple examples as I neared the 10% mark, and knew I couldn’t carry on:
Alexander looked out the window. There was just the faintest hint of light on the horizon. Dawn wasn’t too far off. He could hear people going about their chores in the yard. The day was about to begin.
At this point in the chapter, we already knew it was night time, so re-declaring that it was dawn coming was unnecessary. And OBVIOUSLY the day is about to begin if it’s dawn. This book had so much of this. Needless repetition meant that I zoned out a lot, and had to go back and keep re-reading passages because my mind wasn’t staying focused on the words on the page.
An example of action:
His blood ran cold. For the briefest moment he froze in utter terror. Whatever had just made that noise was here to kill him. He was certain of that.
Choppy. Choppy. Choppy. I wonder what the difference is between “utter terror” and “terror?” So many unnecessary words throughout this story weakened the writing, and made what could have been an interesting tale a labour to read.
The last guard backed off slowly, looking around wildly, clearly hoping for reinforcements.
So many adverbs! I remember an editor slapping my hand early on in my own writing for using more than one adverb in a paragraph, never mind three in a sentence. Use stronger words, and you can cut two of those.
The last guard inched backwards, casting his gaze about in hopes of finding help nearby.
No adverbs. That isn’t perfect, because it shifts the POV toward the guard, but this book head hopped a fair bit anyway, so it’s not like the writer cared about that.
The last straw for me was “the man that was not a man.” I got tired of reading that phrase after the second time. It came over and over again, relentlessly.
I gave it two stars, despite not being able to finish it, because I thought the villain was intriguing. He had this sort of laid back style of being evil, casually killing those who would better serve him in death (necromancer, remember?). It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t finish this one, because I felt like the story had a lot of promise, even if the characters came across flat. I can deal with flat characters. I can’t handle a long book that’s hard to read due to issues that a good editor would be able to fix.