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Into The Abyss (Demons of Astlan) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 8, 2015
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About the Author
J. L. Langland has been obsessed with science fiction and fantasy since Junior High. Upon hearing the job description "High Energy Astrophysicist" in 8th Grade Physical Science, he set out to become one. His express goal to develop trans-warp capability, patent it, license patent rights, make money, build spaceship, go to the stars. OK, well, he got a B.S. in Astrophysics, then his M.S. and Ph.D. in Experimental High Energy Physics. But by that point, he'd realized that there were probably easier ways to make a living than developing warp drives. Turns out, it was rather more difficult than he'd thought in 8th Grade. So, clearly, the better alternative was to use his knowledge of Multiversal Quantum Topology to create a gateway to other planes of existence. OK, that was tricky too and took many years of work, but eventually he perfected Astral Projection and was able to travel the multiverse using the power of his mind. Now he brings to you, the reader, true stories and historical accounts from his adventures on other planes of existence. J.L. "Doc" Langland was raised on Heinlein, Zelazny, Blish, Herbert, Azimov, Chalker, E.E. "Doc" Smith, Katherine Kurtz, MZB, Paul Edwin Zimmer, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, Robert Jordan and thousands of others. He began writing for himself in ages past and has published numerous net fiction short stories under various aliases.
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[There are some spoilers ahead.]
Much recent fantasy is little more than supernatural pornography, and, luckily, that wasn't the case here. On the other hand the lead character is borderline too powerful, another common failing. Here we go from a supposedly average teenager, and, boom, not only does he turn into a demon, he turns into a super powerful one, with hints that he's even more so. Stories aren't interesting if there's no real peril. I expect that Tom was originally a very powerful demon who's spirit was banished to earth, which would explain how quickly his power has developed.
Another common problem is predictability. So far, the story is quite predictable. Main character = good, zealots = misguided, woman who can't stand the main character will probably fall in love with the character, well, we'll see. Still, there are some questions, such as what is in the Book, the one the wizards are fighting over? It'll probably turn out to be something that explains how the current wizard/demon situation came about, one that won't paint the demons as being inherently evil. Rupert is another question mark. If Tom's not his father, why the similarity? Is it just that our minds create reality, and Rupert really wanted to be Tom's son?
In any case, despite some shortcomings, and whether or not my suppositions turn out to be correct, I enjoyed the book enough to read it in one sitting, and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Yet despite these flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed Into the Abyss. The demon angle, taken from the perspective of a hapless 16 year old shoved into a monstrous body and treated as "evil" simply for what he looked like, was clever. I also enjoyed the way the author mixed in reference material from time to time.
Admittedly I would have liked to have seen a bit more character development in the first half. The author could have easily saved the second half of the book for book 2 and spent more time building up the wizard school characters, the enslavement theme, and the war that dominates the storyline. That would have made a stronger novel.
I'm tempted to say this is a three and a half star book, but I'll be honest... I really liked the main character. I enjoyed the story. And unlike a lot of self-published books I've read, I am eagerly awaiting book 2. So definitely four stars.
The less happy aspect is that it is way too long and meanders into lots of asides. The author could have released 3 novels and 5 or 6 short stories from the materials. After cutting out the tendency toward repetitive description.
Most recent customer reviews
The premise of the book is good.Read more