Friday, October 13, 2017

Injustice Book Review: Sea of Fire by J F Holmes

Cower not, fierce reader!  This day we take a look at a seaborn fantasy. And there's a bit to talk  about, not all good, unfortunately. Let's take a look. Warning: this will have some spoilers, as this is going to have a lot more critique than usual.

Fantasy races: We've got dwarves, elves, half-elves, and dragons. The unfortunate thing with this is that the elves and dwarves are about as generic as they could be. There's currently a war of racial purification going on where the elves are trying to exterminate the half-elves. Not really a big deal, I've seen it in D&D before. The elves do have a penchant for eating humans, characterizing them as less than human. The scene isn't even graphic, it's just a conversation. There are some interesting implications in there, but I won't discuss them here. Dwarves, I didn't see anything remotely unique or interesting.

The dragons are also mostly nondescript, but they do have a bit of personality, separating them from the bulk of the cast in the book.

Fantasy religion/magic: There's a moon cult, and that has some of the more interesting pieces here. Honestly, I wish there were more of it present, though I can understand that the setting and plotting avoided that. The priests have access to magic, but it is powered by the moon, so they are weak during the day, and on moonless nights.

There are brief mentions of a couple of other religions, one on land based, and one followed mostly by sailors. This is interesting, but it's only a casual mention, more in laying the fallen to rest than anything else.

There's also a couple of magicians on the ship, and magic does not travel well across water. Interesting. Very little in the way of mechanics of magic, which I appreciate at times. Worldbuilding can be excessive.

Action: This is one thing the book does very well. I do commend the fights here, for being a good mix of tactical portrayal, and sweeping action. There's not too much detail, and yet, there's a clear knowledge of formations and techniques.

Language: I know, there's a good middle ground between being accessible and realistic. This veers too far to the modern accessibility side of things. The word "fanboy" should not appear in a world where THERE ARE NO FANDOMS. And while I've given some authors a measure on their copyediting, I have to do so here again, and it's easily avoidable.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TO AND TOO, DON'T USE THEM. USE ANOTHER ADVERB AND PREPOSITION. OR HIRE A DECENT COPYEDITOR.  "Where too?" shoves me out of the story faster than a lot of homophone misuse.

Now that I'm done with taking the book apart, I will say that overall it was a fun and fast read. I just wish there were more to separate it than the sea, and putting a dragon on the ship. The worldbuilding is fast, and happens with the story, rather than aside from it. 6 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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