Top critical review
Antler Jinny & the Raven is an imaginative experiment in world building and alternative history
8 July 2018
Usually I’m a little bit apprehensive when I open the book and see a prologue, but for this bit the prologue was interesting and layered. I do however feel at times it was superfluous, which could for the most part apply to the whole book. I felt at times Chris Dews was attempting to say too much in too little time. The sentences were often too long and littered with commas, which can be stylistically interesting, however if it’s every sentence it often lacks a punch.
This isn’t to say the book is uninteresting, far from it. The exploration of mysticism and setting is sublime, and the world building is on point. The setting of alternate history and the realisation of hearsay at the time staples the book as an interesting fantastical read. It’s simply the writing itself that made me want more. The ideas are there, and the vision is clear, there was just a lot that could be benefitted from holding off on some information until later on in the novel. For example, drip-feeding the nuances of previous battles, rather than throwing it at the reader.
I felt like less could’ve spoken volumes louder and enhanced the established intrigue further. This is especially as all of the ideas are certainly there and absolutely brilliant. Dews’ imagination is clearly capable and interesting to explore, but from the reading of the title to the reading of the beginning, it is clear that the sentences themselves often give away too much information.
This in tandem with the maps at the beginning did leave me a little thirsty for more. I love maps at the beginning of a fantasy novel, it shows extreme dedication to craft and world building. However, there was something lacking here.
Without a doubt this is an interesting and fun read, however I know the writing can be a lot tighter, as every other element of the book is there in spades.