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Trial By Fire (Covencraft Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 329 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
The Harry Potter books did a lot of great things for books. On the bright side, they revived interest in supernatural fiction. Unfortunately, they also revived interest in supernatural fiction. The point being, that while it's great that there are lots more book series out there in this fun, fascinating genre, many of those books are truly terrible. "Trial by Fire" among them.
The heroine, Jade, is the first and most serious problem with the book. She is just the rudest, most immature, most unpleasant character I have read in a while. Which, if well-written, could be great. But her lack of self-awareness, and the lack of interesting characters to contrast with her, makes reading this book a bore and a chore. I kept having to put it down and come back later. You know you're in trouble when most of the main character's internal dialogue goes something like this: "She knew she was being immature/rude/stupid, but oops! it was too late. So she shrugged it off, didn't apologize, and doubled down on her immaturity/rudeness/stupidity, and no one ever called her on it because they're all a bunch of wusses." Or something like that. It wasn't an exact quote.
Also, if a book's characters have to keep reminding you how smart the heroine is, chances are, she really, really isn't. She never behaved in any way that made me think of her as intelligent. Knowing how to read and look stuff up on Google does not Hermione Granger make.
Then there are the flaws in narrative style. Rule #1: Show, don't tell. Broken. Way, way too much time spent on lame internal dialogue and weak external dialogue rather than on plot-driving action. Rule #2: Keep a consistent point of view. Broken. Too much head hopping. Telling us what one character is thinking while inside another's character's POV--when I'm pretty sure no one's superpower is mind reading--is very jarring. Suspension of disbelief, suspended.
And let's not forget the plodding plot. Pretty much nothing happened. SPOILER ALERT (although don't know why it would be necessary because NOTHING HAPPENED): She is rude at work. She drinks coffee. She finds out she's a witch. She drinks coffee. She is rude to the people who give her this awesome news. She goes to visit them, but insists that they buy her coffee en route. She is rude to everyone she meets, and drinks more coffee. She finds out that she is super powerful for some unexplained reason, and is rude to the people who tell her this. She violates a bunch of rules, and is rude to the people who try to tell her to stick to the rules for her own good since she doesn't know what she's doing. She drinks more coffee. Thanks to her stupid bungling she gets visited by a demon, to whom she is rude (surprise!). She drinks more coffee and is rude again to the one person who keeps trying to help her. She gets attacked by a second demon (yay!), and more people try to help her with spells and stuff. She drinks more coffee and acts entitled to everyone's help. She meets a total of about four people in a coven of hundreds, and is rude to all of them, although they continue to be kind to her for some reason. She drinks yet more coffee. Finally, in desperation, the reader thinks: "Hey! Since there are only like six people in this universe, maybe this mess of a book will be salvaged with an interesting twist on a locked room mystery!" But NO, the bad guy is someone you've never even heard of, to whom Jade is (surprise!) rude. Then she handles the whole confrontation scene as stupidly as you could possibly imagine--but Oops! it's too late now, so she just doubles down on her crappy decisions and somehow pulls a win out of thin air because she is SOOOOO powerful. Wow.
A lot of people seemed to like this book. Good for them. I wish I could get my time and money back. But that's just me. I dislike the heroine. I will never know the back story that made her so unpleasant. I really don't give a crap. This is the end of the series for me. Sorry.
Jade is not a very likable person. I know that she had a horrific childhood which we only get a glimpse of in this first book, (and is why this gets 3 stars instead of 2 because I'm sure this is is why she behaves the way she does) but she is contrary just for the sake of it, she is snide and sometimes nasty for no real reason, and extremely bossy and as a reader she was very off-putting. I realize she is putting up walls and has been her whole life to avoid being hurt, but there was nothing in this story that made me feel like I wanted to know her, or be friends with her. The story itself was interesting if a bit contrived and over done, and I'm hoping that maybe there will be a little more warmth to Jade in the second book, which I'm still willing to try at this point. I'm hoping she learns to trust the friends she's starting to make in the coven and take down some of those walls, because frankly she was just plain irritating in this one.
I liked the way the characters evolved over the course of the book. I also enjoyed the way the author has refrained from wrapping up every little detail with a denouement at the end, but has left things to be discovered in the next books in the series. With that said, you really must read the series in order to get the full effect of the characters.
As noted by a previous reviewer, there are four-letter words in the book, but they are used by only one character and their usage tapers off - seemingly as that character becomes more comfortable in their situation. I did not find them to be excessive or gratuitous. There is a small amount of violence, but it is limited to two fights that are important to the plot of the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book on several levels and I look forward to reading more works from this author.