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The Book of Deacon (Volume 1) Paperback – March 18, 2012
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- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 18, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 322 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1470008955
- ISBN-13 : 978-1470008956
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.73 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I also found myself rolling my eyes that the protagonist achieved mastery at multiple disciplines in a matter of weeks, including combat training that would realistically take years. I understand that she's a "prodigy," and that her prodigy status is a plot point, but the whole "instant genius" concept is a pet peeve of mine, so this whole theme in the book, and the inordinate amount of time spent on it, grated on me.
Ultimately, it feels like such a shame that the author, who clearly has talent and passion for writing, chose not to pay for a good editor to make his book the best it could be.
I won't be reading the next in the series because I can't stomach the rambly bloat and passive voice, though I'm curious to find out what happens next. I hope Lallo decides to get a good editor, because his writing deserves it!
I don't usually care for fantasy as much as I do hard science fiction. However, the world that the author has created is so captivating and fully formed that I became totally immersed within the first few pages. This is well and truly a fantasy book, and this first installment was so good that I went ahead and purchased the entire series on the assumption that the rest of the series would be this engrossing.
I found the characters to be complete, detailed, and believable. I cared about them, even those on opposing sides of the war that is consuming the world in which the story takes place. The action pulled me forward through the story and so fully involved me that many times I found that my whole body was tensed during the periods of tension within the story.
It is a world populated by wizards and witches, dragons and mermaids, and all manner of mythical beasties. All of which are 100% fully formed characters down to the last hair and scale.
This was a totally captivating and breathtaking read and I hated reaching its last page. It's a good thing there are more books in the series to enjoy.
(P.S. In that I'm also an author and editor, I truly appreciate the attention that was paid to the proofreading of this book. There were surprisingly few errors. The few I noticed were of the type that cannot be caught by a spellchecker. For example, the word "though“ instead of “through“ wouldn't be caught because it's a correctly spelled word, it's just the wrong word. Thank you and kudos to the proofreader.)
This is a hard book to classify. I first thought it was about a girl wandering through a barren landscape, encountering adventures. I was partially right.
Then I thought it would all about the magic sword she found, and that she'd have to defeat a great evil or be chased by enemies. Also partially right.
Then I thought it would be about her friendship with the half-fox Leo, and the two of them would be adventurers together. Also partially right.
Then, when she was kidnapped by the army and rescued by the rebellion, I thought it would be about stopping the war and the north. I thought there would be spying and furtive reconnaissance. Not really.
Then she set off to find a wizard, and I thought the book would be about her apprenticeship and learning spells and facing other magicians and perfecting her magic. Mostly right.
But she gets caught by a dragon first, and I thought the book would be about living with dragons and raising the day-old dragonet to be her companion and friend. Partially right.
Then Leo shows up and takes her to a secret valley with other wizards, and all those assumptions were thrown out. Miranda's life kept changing so dramatically, and I never knew what to expect. I don't think I will read the rest of the series, though. Miranda will be fine, and she's too powerful to get into any real danger. Myn is interesting, but not enough to bring me back.
There were a few typos, nothing too distracting. There were a couple of neat lines I'll have to record later. My favorite scene would have to be Myn practicing flying by crashing into Miranda.
Usually, I can pick out the shape of a tale and where the plot is or at least the rising action and climax. With this book, I couldn't.
Where was the midpoint? The inciting incident? The pinch points? This was sort of frustrating, but also sort of refreshing. Part of the problem was that I read this book in a boxed set with other volumes, and I didn't know how close I was to the end of the book. Was I at 30%? 50%? 90%? I didn't know until the end.
So, it didn't feel like most books, with intro, rising action, conclusion and all. It felt like part of a larger epic, and it ignored certain conventions. Maybe I'll be able to pick out more plot elements if I read the other books in the series.
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Well, it didn't really go anywhere after that. The sword was quickly stolen from her, never to be seen again. She ran to escape one vaguely-defined threat after another, but without any particular goal or hope motivating her. She didn't act like a girl who'd been living on her own for some time (it's not clear how long she has been doing this or how old she is, I'm guessing somewhere in her early twenties) - she seemed more like a naive and sheltered girl leaving the safety of her father's castle for the first time, with little understanding of the dangers of the world or the people she might meet. She continually purchased or was given fresh equipment, only to lose it again during the next escape. When she wasn't fleeing from vaguely-defined threats, she was simply obeying orders from whomever she had taken refuge with. She never seemed to show any initiative or make things happen because she herself wanted or believed in them.
Because of this, there wasn't really a clear storyline. Myranda is the heroine apparently, but she doesn't have a goal or make anything happen. She doesn't seem to have any flaws and no real explanation is given as to why she's so overpoweringly good at magic. We don't know enough about her family for there to have been any hints of previous magical expertise there. We haven't seen any instances of her 'instinctively' using it in times of great stress. She just discovers she's brilliant at it and...well, that's it. It's not clear why one person might be any more attuned to the magical spirits or any better at working with them than anyone else.
Who are the bad guys exactly? What are their motivations? Who exactly is benefitting from this perpetual war? How are the northern kingdoms continuing to hold their own when they are much smaller and have a far more inhospitable climate? Are they using magic in battle or just swords and bows etc?
The book's world was interesting but again quite vaguely defined. New themes and concepts were introduced at the drop of a hat whenever the author needed them. At first it seemed the world was populated only by humans, but then we are introduced to a 'malthrope' a sort of human-animal hybrid. OK. Then later there are elves and dwarves and fairies and dragons and mermaids and some sort of undead spirits. That's fine, but it would have been better to make it clear up front what nature of world and people we are dealing with. Important plot points such as the magical sanctuary (her world's version of Xavier's School for the Gifted) and the vaguely-described Chosen were dropped into the plot when needed with zero foreshadowing whatsoever.
This is obviously part 1 of a trilogy but it doesn't do nearly enough to stand on its own. It has no real ending. Nothing is resolved. It seems like little more than a set-up for the real story to come. The epilogue basically says as much. I assume (because I am unlikely to continue with it) that a lot more will be explained and many of these questions will be answered in books 2 and 3.
I've enjoyed other books by this writer so I found this one disappointing.
Personally, I would pass this by. There are too many, much better crafted, works out there for anyone to struggle on with this.
The characters were detailed, but somehow unconvincing - they seemed to me to be driven by the plot. Myranda, for example, only seems capable of anger when the story requires her to lose her temper. At other times, she's shown as a tough but essentially gentle person, without the depths from which anger could arise.
Another concern was the background. A good fantasy has a rich and detailed world underlying it - as complete as possible in its culture, its history, its economy and so on. I had no sense of this at all. The background seemed merely sketched in - a long war, three kingdoms united in an Alliance run by various generals - and that was about it. To me, it made the entire story feel shallow.
Which is a pity, because there are some very good bits in it. Some of the descriptions are very atmospheric. Myranda's struggles to survive in the cold wilderness are well described, and the climatic test of her magical abilities is vivid, exciting and imaginative.
Worth reading as a free book, and many readers will enjoy it. To me, however, it needs to be tightened up and trimmed down to increase the pace and tension.