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Haunting Weir (Haunted Weir Workings Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Haunting Weir puts an interesting twist on the traditional tale of good versus evil, with an interesting cast of men, elves, dream-catchers, fairies, demons, ghosts, and other fantastical creatures. It is a story of will and determination, but in terms of depth and complexity, it's geared more towards the younger YA audience. For the more mature reader, the story lacks development and tension. We are told way too much (even obvious things), which takes away from the tension buildup in the story, and despite the Herculean conflict presented at the beginning of the story, the heroes resolve all challenges quite easily.
Is the story original? The concept of the Haunting Weir (a barrier that protects people's souls from being possessed by demons, ghosts, and other evil beings) and Weirimen (a specially trained group of fighters who can ward off evil and reseal cracked Weirs) seems original to me. The journey itself is a traditional quest where the main character, Art Storygrove, is shunned from his guild and sent out in search of certain magical objects that will aid him in his final challenge to redeem himself. While on his journey, Art meets and becomes allies with Ever (an elf), Orchid (a dryad), and Lucid (a dream-catcher). Unfortunately, that's where we lose Art.
To me, Art never really did anything, except moan, groan, and whine. Ever and Lucid were much more interesting and dynamic characters. I think this is because of reading too much of Art's thoughts instead of seeing him in action. Art needs to be much more active.
Are the characters well developed? Yes and no. Although each character has a distinct voice and backstory, the format of the narration didn't allow me to really get involved with the characters or the story. I am told everything and never get to see or participate in the action, thus limiting my involvement.
Does the story move at a good pace and keep you wanting more? The pace is good, with a lot happening. However, the excessive amount of narration eliminates all tension buildup. In general, the action is suspended by long internal thought, descriptions of the surroundings, or telling what the character is feeling or thinking. This diffuses the tension that was previously created and takes away from the action. For example, Art and the Weaver are about to face the demon trapped inside Art, but instead of diving headfirst into the action, I'm presented with long descriptions of Art's worries of what might happen. By the time the action starts the tension is gone.
One big problem with the narration is its repetitive nature, especially with Art's internal thoughts and feelings. He's tired, frustrated, worried, etc...
Is the manuscript well edited? The manuscript would greatly benefit from a thorough round of editing. As previously mentioned, there is way too much telling and not enough showing. Also, technically speaking, sentence structures are often awkward, and there are way too many misused/misspelled words.
Do you recommend this book? I definitely would after a re-edit.
First of all, the conflict is mostly man versus himself, one of the classic conflicts of literature. It's really Art, the main character, battling a demon with himself (this happens fairly early in the book so it's not a spoiler).
Sometimes I felt as if it were Art battling an ongoing sickness. You know, the one like when you have the flu, and you feel you have to report at the office. On the subway there you feel a huge ache in your stomach... and then you down a syrupy-taste medical drop... and you feel better for a little while, just until you get into the office. Then you wonder, should you go back home immediately and surrender, should you stay on and tackle those reports due by five p.m., and then after looking at yourself in the mirror in the public washroom, you say yes, I can do this. (In fact Art does take magical and mythical candies to keep the demon at bay). Then you have another major migraine come on, and a co-worker comes up to you and offers some water, and helps you feel better, so you stay on your mission to get those reports done.
Sorry, I'm rambling, and that's entirely unfair to this book, because it does introduce some very interesting characters, although some of the concepts are quite quirky (i.e. how a romantic couple of different species are tethered to each other, and how it's possible for Art to host a demon bigger than him, not quite incorporeal but also capable of being corporeal... I couldn't imagine it, despite trying) it's very fascinating, like reading another world. While, as said, it's hard to develop an entire book on man fighting himself with less external conflict than internal conflict, this book manages to pull it off.
The mood is dark, gloomy, and very Gothic. The monsters and magical creatures that inhabit this world are very inventive and unlike those I've ever read before. For that creativity and originality I give it four stars, although overall I found it a little weird. (And I do love weirdness in stories, so I'm surprised to hear myself say that--must be that I like a normal, Earth-type world as the base system, and this book has a different world, although one can imagine it being somewhat akin to late medieval Europe with its bands of roaming knight guilds acting as greater good mercenaries).
The writing style is very consistent, and I appreciate that. Pacing between description and action is very even, with many little flourishes of exploration, impending danger, action, and resolution.
My favourite part was when they are inside the Consciatorium. (you kept thinking, is this the right place, or not--nothing is as it seems!)
Sometimes the style of writing just did not connect with me as a reader, though. The exposition was too detailed and dragged out. There was so much explained before any real action occurred. Yes, some sort of explanation is needed, but it did not seem like any true action showed up until halfway into the novel, therefore, it did not quite always keep my attention. Then, as I got toward the end, well, it seemed sort of like an anti-climactic ending. It could be that I just prefer novels with supernatural elements that take place in our own world, and this did not seem that way, like the sort of novels that make you feel as if this possibly could happen to you, if one little change was made. This was not like that. He seems to live in a world of Weirs. It doesn't seem to be a real problem that he has a demon, because the author does not show how it is a problem in his world.
Perhaps it was lacking in character development, because, although it is known what may happen if Art does not get the help he needs, I had a hard time caring about the outcome for him.
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I’d describe Haunting Weir as new adult steampunk.Read more