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Everville: The First Pillar Paperback – April 1, 2013
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Top customer reviews
The writing is rich will details of life, lands, relationships, and backstory. Interlocking storylines tell the tale of a Keeper saving his world as well as Owen’s own tale—stories that combine fairly naturally by the final pages. Choices have deep, slow-growing consequences that can “transform kindness into hatred and good into evil,” and the pleasing truth, after all, is that not “everybody cheats.”
The First Pillar is rich with ideas, themes, and important lessons in the courage of right choices. It’s a long slow read, but an enjoyable tale with plenty more (and more Pillars) to come.
Disclosure: I got it on a deal and I offer my honest review.
It's a cross-world story with lots of potential, but it's like listening to a friend explain a story with the added inconvenience that the things they're interested in (like the food or signing up for classes) aren't the compelling aspects for you.
It felt like I was being held at arms length the whole time, rather than invited to into the story.
While it didn't work for me, I can see why it might work for others. Take a punt if you don't mind event-based plots.
The author takes no time to explain the world, and even takes shortcuts so that the main character, as new to the world as you or me, has a deep understanding of the world when the reader does not. The world carries no depth or character and the author often tries to pass that off as intriguing mystery but comes off as a frustrating lack of information.
The characters are flat and shallow. I'm not aware of any personality traits from any of them, including the main character. We don't know their fears, motivations, desires or histories. His friends uncritically accept the existence of another universe and fall in line as descriptionless sidekicks. The only personality any one of them shows is to punch a bully in the face--a bully who the protagonist knows and names, but only shows up for two paragraphs and is never heard from again.
None of the characters seem to make any mistakes. It may be because there are so few decisions for them to make in the first place, but even the few opportunities for real decision-making are swept aside by the need to move the featureless but perfect characters forward into the plot.
Irrelevant items are given far too much description while significant events or characters are given virtually none at all. I have no idea what most of the characters look like, how long key events take, or what traits entire races may carry--but I was at least given an exhaustive description of a bowl of fruit.
The sentence structure is even worth noting as boring. Reading [subject] [verb] [noun] over and over again is boring and repetitive.
The concept seems solid: a freshman college student suddenly begins interacting with another world when he falls asleep, and that world is in great danger; a danger that begins bleeding into the waking world he knows and loves. As he finds out more about this new reality, he slowly discovers that his new college is connected to that dream world in ways he couldn't have possibly imagined.
I want to read that kind of book. But the execution is flat, boring and frankly stunning. The book needed several rounds of edits before getting to publish.
The premise is good, and one fantasy readers I think would enjoy. Owen initially goes into dream like states that transport him to Everville, eventually he is able to go at will. He and his friends join several clubs while attending college and find that they are a link to him helping the people of Everville.
Although, fantasy is not a genre I'd pick to read, I liked the story. There were some things that didn't seem real, and yes, even in a story grounded in fantasy, I believe things should make sense. For instance, when Owen and his friends went to college, their time was completely taken over by their quest to help Everville. No one went to classes and the school's clubs, a front for the training needed to defeat Them, didn't seem plausible. At times the story dragged and became redundant.
I do think it is a good start, and there are more books to the series available.