- File Size: 1579 KB
- Print Length: 165 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1514350459
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: August 1, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0138IVVYE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190,309 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Taken in the Dark of Night: A James of Darkwood Novella Kindle Edition
|Length: 165 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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James hooked me into the story, but the world Daniel Howard created is what kept me there, turning pages long after my allotted reading time for the evening was up. It felt like I was immersed in magical fantasy, with delicious bloody strokes of horror and the grotesque mixed in. I also give huge bonus points for including a unicorn as a character (because I LOVE unicorns, and who doesn’t?! They’re rad). The unicorn rocked so much because, just like the character of James, it wasn’t written as your traditional bland unicorn. This unicorn had sass and an attitude. Totally, totally loved it.
I’m excited to read the next book in this series, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be a lifelong fan.
This books reads easy and is a perfect book for someone who enjoys suspense. Descriptive. Well-thought out and with some great twists.
Great novella! Vividly crafted world, compelling characters, raw and earthy dialogue -- particularly among the bandits that populate this world. But what really makes this book captivating is the unique twist on the old fantasy trope of magic. Howard's take on magic draws on Taoist mysticism, quantum physics, and what I can only surmise are psychedelic drug experiences. The Source and Void are the Ying-Yang of energy that flow through this world, with the hero, the Dark Elf James, caught in limbo between them. Consequently, despite being a decent chap, James is forced into a vampiric existence, feeding on the soul-energy of those he murders...It's dark stuff! And the climax is worthy of the best in horror-fantasy.
I also found it quite interesting the way he brings what might be considered modern takes on human trafficking and child abuse into a medieval-esque fantasy world. The girl Tabitha might be a victim of kidnapping and abuse, but she is no victim in her heart, and I'm sure she will make a re-appearance in future volumes.
The story is a bit thin, with the bad guys getting their just desserts and goodness and decency largely rewarded -- but still, a welcome contrast to the nihilistic horrors of GOT. I am very much looking forward to reading more about the Source and the Void, and our damned hero James. This is solid fantasy fiction with some unique twists -- Howard is a writer to watch!
Taken in the Dark of Night is the debut Fantasy novella from indie author Daniel Howard, introducing readers to the character James of Darkwood, a dark elf with a darker past. And as debuts go, Howard’s work is promising and problematic in equal measure.
As the title implies, Taken in the Dark of Night is about Tabitha, a girl who gets kidnapped by a gang of bandits, who ransack her village and make off with all of the children. The story shifts between her point of view and that of James, who is hunting the men who took her.
James is an Eloria’an, a kind of elf, and the narrative alludes to his tragic history -- an orphaned childhood of neglect and abuse, the loss of a great love, and the emergence of a dark gift somehow tied to the powers of Death that drives James to be an outcast.
Yet the novella stays focused on the story at hand, which eventually reveals why James is tracking this particular batch of outlaws. And Howard doesn’t pull any punches in depicting Tabitha’s harrowing abduction. This is a dark tale and there’s violence aplenty, of all stripes.
Because of that, the novella proves to be an odd mix of exciting and disturbing -- when it isn’t being dragged down by two-dimensional baddies and bush-league writing. Which brings us back to the promising and problematic aspects of this debut.
Howard isn’t breaking any new genre ground here; there are your rote elves and wizards and bandits and magic, even a unicorn. It’s run-of-the-mill stuff for Fantasy fans, but for all that Howard still manages to ply these tropes enjoyably. And while his prose is mostly straightforward and workmanlike (as evidenced by the on-the-nose title), he does have a flair for well-paced action sequences. Unfortunately, James is mainly fighting thickheaded henchmen and you rarely feel that he’s in any real danger of being outmatched. It makes for a read that’s alternately absorbing and clumsy.
But all of this could be taken for stylistic hair splitting were it not for Taken in the Dark of Night’s most glaring problem: it’s riddled with typos. There’s at least one on almost every page -- extra words, missing words, misspelled words, words that are spelled correctly but off by one letter, tense shifts, formatting issues. It’s distracting and unnecessary, and it significantly diminishes the reading experience.
To add insult to injury, Howard uses his afterword to ask readers to inform him of any typos he may have missed. But the mistakes are so numerous and so obvious that it makes you wonder just how dedicated the author is to his craft. And that’s a significant question, when you consider that Taken in the Dark of Night is designed to lure you into a much bigger Fantasy series.
An author’s note at the beginning of the novella calls Taken a stand-alone story set between the first two James of Darkwood books. As of this writing, neither of those longer books is yet available. But Howard’s strategy is a testament to the wonderful possibilities inherent in indie publishing: draw readers in with a shorter book, drum up interest in the main series so book one has a strong release and, hopefully, make a little bit of money in the process. It’s a good business model.
But it all hinges on the strength of Taken in the Dark of Night. And quite frankly the thought of wading through a multi-volume Fantasy epic rife with shoddy writing and lazy editing is off-putting, to say the least.
Another bonus of indie publishing is that authors can upload new versions of their books at any time, making revised editions instantly available on most e-book and print-on-demand platforms.
Let’s hope that Howard takes advantage of this, because his enthusiasm for his story and characters is evident, and his work has potential. But he’ll never realize it if he doesn’t start putting equal enthusiasm into editing and honing his craft.