Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Despair: Servant of the Fates

Despair: Servant of the FatesDespair: Servant of the Fates by Val Panesar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I was provided a free Kindle copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

Firstly, I must apologize to the author for taking so long to read this. My review should have been done in October, early November at the latest, but some other things came up, and reading on my phone is difficult. But I'm done, finally, and now to the review.

Despair is the first in a series of books and short stories (I have not read the short stories), and it's a good start. The book itself felt like it needed a professional editor as the sentence structure and punctuation was off in a lot of places. I had a bit of a problem with information not being offered in the beginning and then the reader is expected to know it automatically (e.g. when Aysir points out he can't use magic halfway through as if it's an obvious thing). I also didn't really understand how (view spoiler).  //Note: The author does have extensive end notes (footnotes were intended, according to the author, but didn't work with the Kindle); my personal preference is to have all this explained in-line.  I also had trouble reading them on my phone app because they kept going to the end notes, but then not back to where I was in the text, so I didn't use them that much, hence I missed a lot of the history.  I feel if end notes are needed they should be minimal at most.//

The battle scenes were hard to visualize, I ended up just picturing people Final-Fantasy-style hacking at each other. Speaking of Final Fantasy, it felt like the characters took a completely unnatural amount of damage and still didn't die, and those who did die had relatively minor wounds in the grand scheme of things.

What I DID like was the storyline. I appreciated that it was part mystery, part fantasy. Who was killing all the people? What was going on in the mist? Why were the royals so against finding out what it was? Some of this was answered, some of it wasn't. The ending was interesting, albeit a little confusing, because there was something "revealed" about Arabella that didn't seem to fit with her actions, and didn't explain much either.

Overall it's an interesting concept, and I appreciate the opportunity to read and provide a review. My thanks to the author, and my apologies as well for taking so long.

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