on May 17, 2017
Book Review: David : Savakerrva – Book 1
by L Brown
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd
Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following review, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.
Writing Style – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
For the most part, this is an exceptionally impressive work. The structure is excellent and the writing flows beautifully.
Although the dialogue has a few moments where it seems a little forced, the vast majority of dialogue is superbly built and works hand in hand with the narrative and descriptive elements of the writing.
The narrative itself, although generally superb, does have a tendency to “drown” the characters and the action. Don’t get me wrong, personally, I lapped this up. Loved it! (With the possible exception of some of the repetitive elements I will mention later). But as a reviewer, I have to see this from an everyday reader’s point of view… and I think a large number would lose interest in this within the first few chapters.
Character Development – 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
Whatever faults this may have from a reading perspective, the character development is truly a wonder to behold. As Garth progresses from his “moody teen” persona, and into a young man with the potential to realise much more, the transition is captured in stunning style.
Around him, the few ‘key’ characters work perfectly into the plot and develop along their own pre-determined lines. Meanwhile, tertiary and minor characters are precisely that, and they skirt the edges of the sub-plots with careful skill.
This is seriously good work.
Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cards on the table; this is my sort of thing! My bias to this type of descriptive is widely known… unfortunately, even I felt that there were a few too many occasions where I was saying, “Enough already! I get it!”.
A casual reader will undoubtedly revel in the fact that this is, quite literally, begging to be shot down in flames; and they will review entirely in that context… Unreadable! Waffling Descriptive! Too Long! Too Awkward!...
They would be completely wrong to do so, but I would have to sympathise with their assessment.
Despite this, the descriptive is strong, accurate, nicely constructed, and a credit to a very hard-working author.
Language & Grammar – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
From previous comments, you may have expected a low mark for this, but to be fair, the use and knowledge of language is outstanding.
Even so, I find myself… partially… aligning myself with a long-standing American grammar complaint; comma usage is a little heavy.
Good ol’ “US Johnny and Jane Foreigner” like to get on their soapboxes about ‘run-on sentences’. In effect, they prefer a full stop to a comma.
This is all well and good in a nice everyday, easy-read novel.
Now, in this case… Yes, there are a lot of commas in the text and, yes, I probably agree there are a few too many for the majority of readers to be comfortable with.
Unfortunately, the writing style is equally complex, so I doubt this is something that can be easily edited out.
The author’s penchant for taking words out of sentences to convey meaning and the feeling of the character is not incorrect, but does tend to break the rhythm of the read.
Editing & Formatting – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
A few minor picky things.
Firstly, I don’t care what other reviews say; There ARE spelling errors, and a good number of them, too.
They are widely spread and are often a single letter missing from an obvious word. As there seem to be a greater number in the second half of the book than the first, this is probably something that should be addressed with a full and proper line-edit.
Secondly, there are a lot of tiny statements thrown onto the ends of a lot of narrative paragraphs. Those little cliff-hanger sentences you accompany with a subliminal “DAH-DAH-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” of trumpets and violins.
For me, there are too many of these and they make the dramatic read a little too repetitive.
Plot – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
The young teenaged hero who isn’t a hero, but must learn to be one.
It’s not a new plot idea, but this version does well to push the boundaries a little and build a lot into the central plot.
If I were to criticise anything in the plot, it would have to be that it lags a little in pace and, by my own admission, I just don’t ‘get’ the ‘wraith-in-chains’ thing.
It feels as though it has been a conscious effort to ensure the story is big enough to create the series, and though this means the reader gets a powerful, multi-layered read, it does make several sections feel a little like a chore.
The sub-plot with the ‘worms’ and the girl is beautifully crafted, but it does feel a little disjointed here and there. The conclusion to the sub-plot left a potential opening, which was progressed toward the end of the read, much in line with my expectations.
The ending feels a little abrupt, as is the way with most series’, but does provide a climax of sorts. Yes, it could have been a little more ‘concluded’ but it just about passes muster.
General – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cover art is superb. Really gives a good impression of the mood of the read. Title font style and colour is okay, but a little invisible in thumbnail. Author font style and colour is terrible.
If you didn’t know there was meant to be a name somewhere, you could easily miss it.
All-in-all, this is a more-than-acceptable offering… No, it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t really fault this remarkable effort by a clearly excellent writer.
The plot is clear and nicely drawn, the characters are engaging and very well rounded, and the whole thing flows from start to finish with good dialogue and a powerful narrative.
The “series” thing is a bit of an issue. This is not an easy book to get into, so a casual reader is not going to find much solace in the idea they may have to go through it all over again.
Added to that; this is a long book which does not really cover a huge proportion of the central plot. In effect, however you dress it up, all we have really gleaned from this is the cast list for the story to come.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this.
Although my criticisms seem many and varied, I genuinely think this is an excellent work. Every book could use that tiny batch of tweaks and a bit of TLC. This is no different.
But, be warned, if you are getting this expecting a leisurely read, or something you can speed-read in a day, think again.
This is easily capable of being an off-the-chart, five-star, top read.
A few too many issues, despite the quality of the piece.
Four very, very, very deserved stars.