I enjoyed this sequel which managed to remain true to the first book in terms of its atmosphere and the world portrayed. I was emotionally engaged with the characters and again the author was at his best with the people, dialogue and martial elements.
The book was undermined by its poor grammar, incorrect spelling, incorrect use of tenses, and the rather jarring (and unnecessary) many Americanisms.
One section of the book that did not fit within the context of the surrounding, overarching story was Chapter Two with its inappropriate portrayal of a kind of wild west stockade, ‘Paw’, and the American language used. These were completely at odds with the otherwise consistent feel of the rest of the book.
Finally, I was unsure about the quick deus ex machina ending, which seemed a rather easy way out.
For a representative sample of the language issues, see below:
‘As one, our faiths are not powerful’ should be ‘Singly, our faiths are not powerful’ (‘as one’ implies they are united together, whereas I think the Author means ‘singly’, ie: individually)
‘All that served to do was erode their strength upon each other’ should be ‘All that served to do was to erode one another’s strength’
‘We’ve to be moving’ should be ‘We must move’ or ‘We must get moving’
‘You would not have been as amenable to our message should a face resembling that of your enemy have been present’ should be ‘You would not have been as amenable to our message had a face resembling that of your enemy been present’
‘We’ll encounter seas and weather like nothing you’ll have ever encountered before’ should be ‘We’ll experience seas and weather like nothing you will ever have encountered before’
‘The town was comprised largely of’ should be ‘The town comprised largely’ (the ‘of’ is not necessary it is already within the word comprised; and the ‘was’ is not needed)
‘far from the battering seaward-facing wall’ should be ‘far from the battered seaward-facing wall’
‘It is I who owes you an apology’ should be ‘It is I who owe you an apology’
‘Total power exists in a void of the comforts ordinary people enjoy’ should be ‘Total power exists devoid of the comforts’ (if that is what the author means)
‘scurried off as quick as he could’ should be ‘scurried off as quickly as he could’ (‘quickly’ is an adverb, describing a verb, in this case it describes ‘scurried)
‘moved quick’ should be ‘moved quickly’
‘gripping firm’ should be ‘gripping firmly’
‘He shoved her out in front of him with a stumble’ should be ‘He shoved her in front of him, causing her to stumble’
‘she rubbed at the spasming muscle in her lower back’ should be ‘she rubbed at the muscle spasm in her lower back’ (a spasm is a noun, you can’t change it into a verb)
‘whomever had constructed the howf’ should be ‘whoever had constructed the howf’
‘Up the hill behind Tusk came’ should be ‘Beyond Tusk she saw the hooded figures of Culver and Halpern hurrying down the hill to meet her’
‘scaling the snowy side of what appeared to be a glacier in a long line’ should be ‘scaling, in a long line, the snowy side of what appeared to be a glacier’
‘followed on in the direction Grunnxe had stalked off in’ should be ‘followed on in the direction in which Grunnxe had stalked-off’
‘We’ve to then ensure’ should be ‘We must then ensure’
‘the space he had been in’ should be ‘the space where he had been’
‘a commotion drew Kalfinar’s attention’ this doesn’t describe correctly – it is far from a ‘commotion’ it should be ‘a slight movement’ drew Kal’s attention
‘Higgs could not grab any real purchase on her’ should be ‘Higgs could not get any real purchase on her’ or ‘could not gain any real purchase’
‘worshiped’ should be ‘worshipped’
‘watched the pale, wrinkled flesh amongst the dark sand’ should be ‘watched the pale, wrinkled flesh amidst the dark sand’ (or better ‘against’ the dark sand) – I think it is the contrast here the author is trying to describe, rather than flesh actually lying in the sand
‘break the bind’ should be ‘break the bond’ (‘to bind’ is a verb)
‘you’ve not drank much for a few days’ should be ‘you’ve not drunk much for a few days’
‘where Paw was sat on the seat of the wagon’ should be ‘where Paw was sitting on the seat of the wagon’ (or better: ‘where Paw was seated in the wagon’)
Ruah stood from the patch of yellowing grass she’d been sat on’ should be ‘Ruah stood from the patch of yellowing grass where she had been sitting’ or ‘where she had been seated’
‘his action repeated by those sat around the table’ should be ‘his action repeated by those who were sitting around the table’ or ‘by those who were seated around the table’
‘Pockets of four sat spread out in a line’ should be ‘Groups of four were sitting spread out in a line’
You can say: I was sitting; he was sitting; or I sat, you sat, he sat, but you cannot say ‘he was sat’
‘Thaskill bound down the steps’ should be ‘Thaskill bounded down the steps’
‘Cleaved ribs sprung’ should be ‘Cleaved ribs sprang’
‘squalor’ should be ‘squalour’
‘We don’t got all morning’ should be ‘We don’t have all morning’ If you want to indicate poverty and ill-education through language and do it in English, you would use ‘We ain’t got all morning’
‘Go, get gone’ should be ‘Go, leave!’.
‘suggest he get himself lost for a while’ should be ‘suggest he lose himself for a while’
‘a small smile that shaped up all lopsided’ should be ‘a small smile that appeared lopsided’
‘tried to think up a way out’ should be ‘tried to devise a way out’
‘sun-up’ should be ‘dawn’ or ‘sunrise’
‘on an outcrop up a ways’ should be ‘on an outcrop a little way ahead’
‘traveling’ should be ‘travelling’
‘What matters is that we are better, if even by just a little ways’ should be ‘What matters is that we are better, even if only slightly’
‘What warmth leached from him to her was near of no use’ should be ‘What warmth leached from him to her was almost useless’
‘When Harvind was done cutting’ should be ‘When Harvind was finished cutting’
‘and near sending her sprawling’ should be ‘and nearly sending her sprawling’
‘near fell over’ should be ‘nearly fell over’
‘Hal, wait up’ should be ‘Hal, wait!’
‘Harvind dove in low’ should be ‘Harvind dived in low’
If the author, or indeed anyone else, wishes to improve their skills with English Language, they should read 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens; 'Middlemarch' by George Eliot, and 'The Gormenghast Trilogy' by Mervyn Peake.
An epic sequel to a great debut. D.M. Murray writes powerful, character-driven stories of love, conflict and hardship set against a backdrop of war and widespread strife. Grimdark without being overly grim and dark, the Red Season series is an absolute treat for fans of epic fantasy.