The Knife's Edge by Matthew Wolf
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I found The Knife's Edge on Kickstarter and figured it sounded good, and I wanted to support a budding author, so I backed it. I can't say I regret backing it, but it doesn't end up anywhere near the top of my list of great fantasy. Unfortunately, there were too many problems with the book for me to ignore.
Kail, Karil, and Kirin - these are three different people. I couldn't keep them straight for the life of me (I'm good now that the book's over, but seriously, all three of these characters' names showing up within a few pages of each other and I was screwed). Add to that the fact that Kirin is also Gray, and one character keeps calling him Kirin, well, I got all sorts of mixed up. Plus, there's a voice in his head that talks to him when he's confused...is that supposed to be Kirin talking to Gray? Does he have schizophrenia? It's never explained, but he listens to it without any real questioning.
Kirin/Gray (from now on just Gray) goes off on an epic adventure to save the world after he's attacked by a bunch of monsters. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's how I'm going to summarize it. The monsters are sent after him by Vera, his dead girlfriend, who is apparently working for someone else and herself at the same time (apparently with no repercussions, but whatevs, girl don't care!), and everyone wants Kirin dead. I still have no idea what these monsters look like, by the way - I imagine the Verg with triangle heads. And the Saerok look kind of like this:
I have no idea why, but that's just where my mind went. Anyone else remember that Angel? Yep.
Anyway, Gray has a sword that killed Vera, his now-dead girlfriend(or something, that becomes questionable later on and kind of creepy in a way...) and he's terrified of it but he doesn't know why because he doesn't remember who he was. And he goes on this epic quest, meets a couple of folks who become his sidekicks no matter how hard he tries to ditch them, and learns how to harness this magic power that's within him, which is actually kind of cool. Eventually he comes to terms with being a "savior" and, with the help of Ronin who are supposed to be evil but aren't really (their backstory isn't completely explained), goes off to save the world.
The Ronin didn't make a ton of sense in the whole scheme of things. Their story is only given in bits and pieces, and while by the end we kind of understand why they are seen as evil but are really good, it's a little too late for me.
Going beyond plot and into printing, I understand that this was a Kickstarter and therefore not a "professionally" published book. However, the author had made numerous mentions in the campaign of proofreading, polishing and perfecting the book over several years and it's finally ready for publication. I beg to differ. The first hundred or so pages weren't so bad. There was the odd extra comma, a few spelling errors, and maybe some weird out-of-place sentences. But by the time I got halfway through the book they were literally everywhere. It was like whoever had proofread this thing had gotten that far in and said "Screw it, I'm done, no one will notice anyway." Well, I noticed. There were spelling problems, horrible grammar, weird punctuation, floating half-sentences, wrong words, wrong characters, and "he's" and "she's" everywhere without identifying who that he or she was.
I was ready for it to be over about 150 pages before it was, even though we hadn't even gotten all the story yet. This wasn't a bad book, obviously I'm in the minority when it comes to those who didn't like it, but I didn't enjoy it very much and would not pass this on to my friends (unless they *really* wanted to read it, in which case, just let me know and it's yours).
Sorry Matthew, it was a dud for me :\
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