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Crimes Against Magic (The Hellequin Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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I can only assume that the plethora of 5 star reviews are the authors friends trying to big him up to the market. I'm ashamed to admit I fell for it.
So... how to best describe this book? I suppose, being fair to the book and the author, it's best described as 'an irretrievably awful turd of a novel'.
The characters are zero dimensional, the plot is confused, the dramatis personae range from bastardised characters from Arthurian legend to mauled Greek heroes (I really couldn't figure out what this book was trying to be), the villains are all moustache-twirling and obvious (but are hampered by the author's own limited vocabulary and skill), all of the female characters are simpering, pointless damsels who have stepped out of glossy magazines and find themselves unable to cope with, well, pretty much anything without the help of the oh so big, strong, butch main character.
Which brings us to Nate Garrett (a name which has a 5th century ring to it, I'm sure you won't agree)... a bold, strong, fearless, on-the-edge tough guy with a heart of gold who feels no pain and shows no pity to the... Oh, for Chrissake... you get the idea. The Author obviously had an ideal character he wanted to play in one of his youthful games of Dungeons and Wossnames and he's just spewed this caricatured adolescent fantasy onto the page.
Nate trundles confidently through a series of utterly predictable encounters wherein he unfailingly "Opens a Can of Whoop-Ass" on every bad guy he meets. These stultifyingly dull sections are punctuated by some really hard to swallow flashbacks to 15th Century France where Nate and the two people he cares most about in the world (even though he's only known them for 3 days) face off against a laughably maniacal facsimile of a well known Arthurian villain (who appears to have developed a suspiciously 20th century vocabulary despite marauding around medieval Europe).
All the while the evil proceedings are being orchestrated by some unseen puppet master known only as "My Lord"... Who can this wicked mastermind be? Surely not another remnant of Nate's past come back to haunt him? Yes, of course it is. And what's more, when the identity of this shady Moriarty is finally revealed, you'll be surprised to learn that it comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever. I would have been happier if it was a character the reader stood no chance of identifying prior to his entrance, but no. It's another let down in what feels like a litany of disappointing scenes.
And then Nate gets his memory back. And when he does, the only thing that changes is that Nate can kick people's arses safe in the knowledge that he's been doing it for an awful long time. Well, whoop-de-fiddlin-doo.
Tedious, repetitive, narcissistic, amateur masturbation. I can't believe I finished it.
If you are considering reading this, try biting your fingernails off instead. It's less expensive and will be more fun. It's a shame I couldn't give this no stars.
Whilst this book does have it's good points, the historical story is interesting and the protagonists very practical use of magic is refreshing, they are buried under unbelievable events and an absurdly Marty-Stu main character.
Firstly, so far the protagonist has has a sexual encounter with every single legal female he has met, with the exception of one who rapidly dies after being introduced. I've nothing against sex being used to forward a narrative (see the works of Walter Jon Williams for an example of how to integrate it well), but these are badly written and the majority of the time completely irrelevant or unbelievable male fantasies. For example, "You've broken into this house to steal something, and we've just met, but I want you." "We've slept together before, but I got angry at you for sleeping with someone else, now you turn up at my door after a fight with a 17 year old girl in tow? Ok, I'll kick the man I have here out, she can sleep on the sofa and we'll go and have sex." It's ridiculous.
Secondly, the protagonist keeps resorting to extreme violence at the drop of a hat, but never against someone equally matched. It's a case of, this person is a person I don't like because they are clearly bad, so I shall beat them close to death. These people don't have magic and the scenes are written entirely to show how macho the main character is, full of actions such as, I gave the knife back to him, so that he'd come at me again and I could hit him some more. To make matters even worse there is always a brief sentence after where he wonders how he could do such a thing and why it doesn't bother him, swiftly followed by a literary shrug and promply forgotten about.
The point where I gave up though was at the most absurd use of Deus Ex Machina, combined with the least consistent personality of a supporting character, that I have seen in a long time.
The protagonist has been beaten close to death and poisoned with a fatal poison. He staggers to a person we met earlier and collapses. When he awakes... "It just so happens I have the cure, and a way to revive you from near death. Of course it will only work on you because you are special. That's lucky! Can you use it again? Oh no, it'll only work once." Also, the man who provides it turns out to be an ancient and powerful vampire, fair enough. But when he says, with sinister overtones, that the price will be that the protagonist is now in his debt, that in return for this massive favour, his life itself, he must work for him, what happens? The protagonist ponders for a second and goes "Nah. I'll owe you three favours and I get to turn them down if I don't like them or if they take too long" How does this massively powerful being respond? Why he happily agrees of course! After all, this the author, sorry, the protagonist we are talking about!
At this point I gave up in disgust. Maybe there is some exceptional twist that magically explains every thing later. Maybe that is why others have rated it so highly. But I just couldn't bare to read any more of this authors self fantasy...
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Most recent customer reviews
Great fun and keeps you...Read more
Such a fantastic series, and Steve writes in a way that really pulls you in!