Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good effort, 27 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: Book One (Hardcover)
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Being a fantasy fiction fan I'd hoped for great things from this new author. The plot is well-conceived but a bit predictable; I found it hard to engage with the main characters although the supporting cast is well-handled. The fantasy world Mr Staveley conjures works quite well and has the necessary elements to keep the reader going. The politics of the plot work. The interweaving of three distinctly separate threads is well-managed.

The book is slow to develop, very slow indeed, so I can't say it swept me away to another time and place. The narrative prose is far too wordy for me. It feels as if the author wants to drag each adjective and simile he knows into every sentence, which makes reading them a slog. The writing feels as if it has been a real, 'give it all you've got', effort and for me could do with a good editing. I don't like four and five lines long sentences as the default style. It makes the reading lack pace. It is more important to use words that count rather than achieve a word count.

The main thing I dislike about this book is the frequent use of obscenity in the dialogue. The f-word starts slowly and progresses to full gallop as we near the climax. People throughout the ages have sworn and of course still do. I accept that and can live with it but if we are in a fantasy world, it is likely the swearing would be of its own time and place. The author uses the parlance and vulgar vernacular of US 2014; it breaks his fragile spell to read f-this or f-that so frequently. Mr Staveley has made up many strange names and words for his novel that fit within the world of which he writes. I would have thought he could have also made up a word to express annoyance and contempt. This single thing robs his novel of the maturity it could have. I hope he addresses it for the next book.
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4.1 out of 5 stars (41 customer reviews)
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