Sacred Band Kindle Edition
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|Length: 380 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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By this, I mean that I can picture them independently in my head, none of them start bleeding into one another's spaces, and I can hear their individual voices in my head when they speak. This is a sign of well-planned character creation. (Not a surprise for someone who's worked in the RPG writing realm for a good amount of time.) Given that there could definitely have been a lot of falling back on tropes, Deosil isn't just a checkmark in one column, Llorona in another, Gauss in a third, etc. Each has their own agency, reasons for doing what they do, and foibles and failures as human beings. Their sexuality/gender identity/race/what have you inform them, rather than force them down a path.
There were parts that dragged a bit, but I think a part of that is me wanting to get to the meat and see what else everyone was going to do with the next interaction between the protagonists and the antagonists (one of which came out of NOWHERE, well done Joe!)
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next for the band.
Overall, I feel that the book was incredibly good for what seems to be the author's first novel. You could absolutely tell that his heart was in the topic and it shone through in every character. That said, there was a reason I gave this four stars.
I will try not to give spoilers in my pros and cons list.
- Amazingly well constructed and thought out world.
- Characters that you can imagine as real, complex beings
- For those of us on the fringes of LGBT+ communities, it gives an in-depth characterization of the struggles of the community, with real world issues interspersed with fantasy ones. He created heroes without making the world a fluffy fantasy version of the real world.
- His prose is impeccable, without any of the grammatical issues or sentence structure problems you find with new authors.
Cons (they're minor):
- He makes the new author mistake of introducing the world in detail before really delving into the characters or deeply into the plot. If you love world building, this won't be a con. I tend to prefer characters to be in the middle of plot from the beginning, with the world introduced as needed. That said, after the first three chapters I got engrossed, so, I highly recommend working through it.
- This goes along with the first. This felt like the prequel of a series, like it started too early in the development of the character relationships.
I can't wait to see where this author takes the series next.
This scratches a huge itch for me, seeing LGBT characters get the spotlight and highlighting that members of the community can be just as powerful if not more so than anyone else.
I'll admit that there were a couple of moments where I was less than pleased with how over-reaching some of the interaction seemed to be. And yes, there is some cheesy dialogue, but what good superhero work doesn't have a cheesy line or three?
Overall, an excellent piece of work and I can't wait to see what Joe puts out next!
All in all, it is an amazing book, especially given the fact that it is the first published novel by this author (and not many people can boast having created such a work of art and quality in the beginning of their careers!), with great action and even better characters. It is exceptionally immersive and for me - as a comic artist - it was very easy to picture everything clearly and cohesively. It would definitely make an incredible graphic novel or comic series as well. It also tackles so many aspects and themes of life and fiction that I personally believe it can be enjoyable by almost anyone: LGBT people, superhero fans, alternative religious practitioners etc. I wholeheartedly recommend it.