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Pangaea: Unsettled Land Paperback – December 1, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Jarrod works in search engine optimization (SEO) and is a graduate of Temple University. When not writing stories or website copy, he writes, sings, and produces his own music. Pangaea: Unsettled Land is Jarrod’s first novel. He currently lives in Philadelphia, PA.
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Top customer reviews
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Set up of all the characters was well done. You knew who they were, what they were about and could fill in the gaps on things unsaid which is nice. Gets you personally involved as you read. No real confusion about the laws of the land, great when creating your own world. I especially loved that I had no problems with modern technology and magic living in harmony. Most people go all sci-fi or all fantasy, so it's nice when people just go all or nothing, and it actually works.
The villains. Seriously they were awesome. Fantastically wicked in that you almost wished evil might actually win kind of kool. And the evil queen's sidekick, if evil must have a partner in crime, she definitely fit the bill. Nothing much to say about these two just perfect.
All the side characters gave the book a nice lift that made you scream why aren't there more of them in this book. Just a tease really, sigh. The plot itself was nice. The three main characters started off somewhere and ended up changed somewhat in the end, all except for one. Gisela.
Gisela was, to be fair the one I was expecting the most from because of the spectacular opening chapter. However, I felt she just didn't go. Even after a certain incident (plot spoiler can't tell you) she was still the same almost uncertain lacklustre person she'd been the whole book. Such a shame since her ordeal was probably the most intense. A lot of room to play there.
Slade. He was okay how could he not be his name is Slade. Coolness. Young man trying to find himself, pave his own way, ends up settling for the way paved out for him instead. It was a journey you could feel yourself falling into--travelling along with. It moved. Well done but he didn't quite seem to move in the middle like in the beginning. At the start he was slowly climbing somewhere, then he found a valley and grazed on some grass for a while, and then zoom total character development circle complete. Overall, middle included, his arc was well etched out.
And then there's Doug. What's not to like about Doug. And when you say his whole name, Douglassaire it's even better. His story was definitely the most spelt out. His history, his place in the story itself, how his unknown past lined up eriely with his present, almost like destiny. The little things placed throughout his story brought a nice cohesiveness to the story. Made it work and also dropped more knowledge on this fantastical and fantastic world the author created. I would go as far as to say that the villains, even the one sub-villain and Doug really show what this author is capable of as a writer. And he's the rough, rugged man type, not relevant but just one more reason to love him, especially when he's topless. (yay to shirtless Doug).
Other than my issue with Gisela, whose name is also beautiful, is the friendship between her and Slade. I just, even upon reread, can't buy into her not knowing his sexual preference thus making it hard for me to feel for her role in this love triangle. If she knew, the whole love triangle would've worked still. Wouldn't be the first time a girl has pined for someone she can't have. I just never got the sense Slade was hiding it so therefore didn't get how she just didn't know.
And lastly. The love triangle. I most certainly was not a fan. However, it's a bonus for this genre. It's familiar territory, and something readers of this genre would expect and other than what I just said, it hit all the correct notes. Played out as it should and in the end... well I can't tell you that, but for this book, it's perfect whether I liked it or not.
So would I recommend this book? Unrequited love, forbidden romance, magical creatures, amazing villains, action, just the right note of suspense to keep you reading and Doug (yes I love him that much), what more do you need really. This was a fun, quick read and I'm putting it out into the universe that it deserves a sequal (which is code for more Doug, Douglassaire.)
Writing is fluid and there is nothing he should be embarassed about. The problem is that there is no tension in the story at all; hardly any rhythm and, as a reader, I did not feel compelled to move on with my reading.
I rate this three stars, but it should be actually one.
So, the great:
The diversity. Pangaea doesn't read like a novel that is trying to check off all the boxes. It's a fantasy novel first and foremost which prominently features PoC and LGBT characters without making either a focal point. Gisela, Slade and Douglassaire (goddess how I love that name) are fully actualized characters with their unique voices. The world is diverse and mysterious. It's a world where magic and science coexist, though not necessarily harmoniously.
I love when a fantasy novel doesn't waste time info-dumping, but simply immerses me into an unfamiliar world(s). Pangaea does this and beautifully. There's the quest element, the reluctant hero, the ever increasing danger. And of course, villains.
The not so good:
While I don't expect stilted or formal language in every fantasy novel, a certain cadence does help with conveying the sense of otherworldliness. Unfortunately, Pangaea didn't really do this for me. The characters, including the queen, talked more like regular people, which took me out of the fantastic elements. If Pangaea is like an alternate earth or different world, it needs to feel like it. I'm used to jeans and t-shirts in urban fantasy. I felt that a different form of casual attire may have worked better.
Gisela. I wanted so much more from her and she just didn't deliver. Half of the book she came off as either deer in the headlights or shell shocked. And I just didn't buy how she didn't suspect where Slade's attractions truly lay. There were parts where she felt somewhat unfinished.
Despite these issues, I wavered between 3.5 and 4 stars (and I seriously wish Amazon would allow half stars, but I'll go with a solid 4). There's plenty of adventure and derring do to appease any fantasy lover. And I've got to say, I loved the Queen. She was perfectly dark and unapologetic about it.