Book Review: The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke

The Lascar's Dagger (The Forsaken Lands, #1)The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lascar’s Dagger is the tale of a Saker Rampion, a spy of the Va faith who, coerced by an enchanted dagger, is unwittingly drawn into a stranger’s quest.

The Bad Stuff: In my opinion there are two major logic flaws within this story. The main character, Saker Rampion, is a veteran spy and I quote “the pontifect’s best; the hunter after truth, the clever spy, the sharp witted investigator.” For a man who is all this, I found him likeable, but incredibly stupid. Saker makes rash assumptions when there is evidence to the contrary. And then there is ‘the thing’ that princess Mathilda hides from the world. I won’t tell you what it is, that would spoil your read if you do take a gander at this tale, but honestly, I have my doubts that she could hide something like this, in this world, under the conditions imposed upon her. I also found some info dumping in the text and some ‘telling’, both of which could have easily been dealt with through different writing techniques.

The Good Stuff: Aside from the flaws I have mentioned above, I really enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting and apart from Saker, they all have strong, clear traits and they stay ‘in character’ throughout the book. The author, Glenda Larke, builds a believable world with a diverse ensemble of characters. She has some creative ideas and weaves some interesting plot lines.

As a reader it is easy for me to criticise Glenda Larke’s writing. As a writer, I know how easy it is to make these sort of mistakes and still not notice them after reading the story a hundred times. On the whole, Glenda has created an original story with some great characters, set in a believable world. Her prose makes for an enjoyable read and I will certainly read more of her works. I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 Golden bookmarks.

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Do You Judge a Book by its Reviews?

Picture by Sebastien Wiertz

Picture by Sebastien Wiertz

Reviews. I’m told they can make a huge difference to an author. They can increase your visibility as a writer and help push sales of your books. But do they really? With all the stories I’ve heard lately of people paying for reviews, I guess there must be some truth to it. Personally, I don’t look at the reviews. If a book cover or a title catches my attention I will read the back blurb. If that sounds interesting I will read the first few pages. If the book hasn’t hooked me by then, it’s not likely I will read it. Something I find more powerful than a cover or a title is a recommendation. If a friend recommends a book to me, I will want to read it. If several friends recommend a book to me, I will read it. Why? Because I trust their opinions? Yes. Because I don’t want to miss out on a good thing? Also a yes. Because it gives us something to talk about? That’s a yes too.

So what about you, do you read the reviews? If not, how do you choose your books?

Thoughts on a Page – Looking Back at Whats to Come

Photo by Renaud Camus

Photo by Renaud Camus

Hello readers, writers, followers and those of you just stopping by. I have tried to get some reading done to meet my Goodreads writing challenge for the year. I don’t think I am going to make it, with seven books left to read in two and a half months, but that won’t stop me trying. As well as reading, I’ve been trying to get some writing done, the combination of which has been enough to see me neglecting my blog a little. Hence I thought I should post something a bit more substantial than another quote. So I got to thinking about what I have done that could provide some content for my blog and it struck me. While I was writing the other night, I thought I would go back and look at something I had written in the past and see just how bad it was, see how far I have come, and to take a look at the direction I’m travelling. I turned to a short story called ‘Low Life’ that I wrote for an anthology called ’18’, published in May 2014. I have not read this piece since its publication and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t written as well as it could be, and in hindsight, I would make a few changes if I were writing it now, but that’s the beauty of it. I can see my mistakes and I know I wouldn’t make them now, that tells me I have improved. I have come a fair way since then, not just with my writing, but also with my knowledge of other things. Things like editing, marketing, formatting and more. I can look back and be proud of how far I have come. I may not have made good use of all that knowledge yet, but I have a better understanding of how to do things when I am ready to do so. Who knows, if I look forward a year or two, I could be writing another post like this one, looking back at what I have accomplished through hard work and persistence. And maybe I will have finally published a novel. So to all the writers out there, maybe you should go back and see how far you have come, then take a look at where you are going, where you want to be. There’s only one way to get there, keep working for it and never give up on your dreams.

Book review – The Salvation of Yellow

The Salvation of Yellow (NSR: The Silence, #1)The Salvation of Yellow by Kenneth A. Mugi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the interests of full disclosure, I would like to note that Kenneth A Mugi is a friend of mine. Even so, I believe that this is my unbiased and honest opinion of his book – The Salvation of Yellow.

In The Salvation of Yellow, we follow the story of Kayley, a thief that steals memories from dead-gods’ and sells them on the black market. Her own memories are limited, even those of the ones she has loved. Kayley is forced to take a job she doesn’t want when her fence refuses to trade with her, unless she helps him.

The Bad Stuff: First up, I had a problem with the names of the Triple Gods of Death – D, Ea and Th. I get the idea behind them, but trying to pronounce the names in my head every time I came across them, detracted from my reading experience. I know this won’t bother some people, but for me, it was hard to overcome. I also have to admit that I got lost a couple of times while reading this book. One minute I’m chugging along knowing what’s happening and then POW… I had no idea what was going on! The story seemed to jump for me, whether I just didn’t get it or if some connecting sentence had vanished, I don’t rightly know, but I got a little confused in places.

The Good Stuff: I loved the characters in this story and it is original and creative. I get a manga vibe from it, a sort of Aon flux on acid type of vibe. There are some good, well constructed sentences that give great descriptions of the characters, the world and what is going on. The story is a little out there, but if you are after something interesting and new that’s a little bit crazy, you will enjoy this book. I would love to see this as a graphic novel.

I’m giving this book 3 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

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