Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Over the top foreshadowing and no idea how to use a comma
on December 4, 2013
I was very mixed about this book. This has some great key elements and would be a fantastic book if the author hired a professional editor.
What I liked:
The premise was quite good and the story was engaging. The characters are generally likable. Spanning vast reaches of time and huge empires is very Asimov-like, but it's not done in a fan-boy way. The universe the author creates certainly borrows ideas from the Foundation series but he does a good job establishing his own style. The author certainly put thought into how the technology would impact the characters and the society in which they operate.
What I didn't like:
The mind numbingly thick layer of foreshadowing, where the author must have thought he was trying to be clever, severely cramps an otherwise good story. Did he really think he would fool any reader past the moment the antagonist walked through the door for the first time? He tried for fight club and ended up with the Khan "reveal" in Star Trek: Into Darkness but even more painfully obvious and drawn out. It wouldn't have been as bad if it wasn't one of the pivotal conflicts in the story.
This book, like most independently published books, badly needs an editor. The terrible foreshadowing could have been avoided but one of the biggest issues is the author's reliance on spell check. There must be 20-30 typos that spell checkers simply wouldn't catch. The word that ended up in the book is correctly spelled, but it's just the wrong word. It really pulls you out of the narrative because the sentence just doesn't make sense and you have to read it couple times to figure out which word he meant from the context. An editor will also catch basic things like sentence fragments, run-ons, and the 200 or so missing commas. I'm usually pretty lenient on grammar and punctuation. Roughly 40% of all the sentences start with a prepositional phrase. I can get over that, but you really need to use a comma to split up the sentence when you do it. There were countless times that I had to re read the same sentence over and over again because I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say. Once I figured out where the prepositional phrase ended and where the comma should be, I was able to comprehend what was happening. This really pulls you out of the story during complex scenes. Asides need commas too.
The science in the story works ok within the context of the book, but there is a lot of meaningless techno-babble. Descriptions of weapons and technology are really confusing and consistently fails to paint a clear picture of what is going on in complex action sequences. It just gets in the way. The terrible editing doesn't help either. Eventually, I just started skimming through sections and just substituted "shot a really powerful gun" to simplify the scene so I could make sense of it. Again, it pulls you out of the narrative.
Overall, I still enjoyed the book and jumped into the sequel, which is just as poorly edited unfortunately. I've found some fantastic reads from independent publishers and this has many of the right ingredients but this feels like a 2nd draft, not a final product.