3 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Curiosity Quills for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.
What an intriguing book. An enjoyable spin on the creatures of myths and legends, lands of fantasy and magic. Think Terry Pratchett’s Discworld with a slightly straighter face… but only slightly straighter!
It was colourful, witty, fast paced and all round a mostly good read. Despite the rating I’ve given it, this book was a pleasurable new story and, despite what I say below, I can see myself seeking out the next in the series to see what comes next.
And a cat that flips the bird? Took me a moment to get my mind around how it was done… was tempted trying to help one of my own cats learn do it just to get the idea right… but got there in the end without annoying a pet. Fun mental image.
Now for the constructive criticism side of things. Please note I’m not doing this to be mean, or negative or nasty. I provide constructive criticism to try and provide decent feedback on a story. As an author myself, I might not always appreciate people not liking my books, but if they explain it with constructive criticism I can at least learn why it didn’t work for them.
The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was that I found the storyline a little too fractured and splintered. And I’m not just talking about the mild inconsistencies in the plot like the Sanctuary Alchemist staying behind in Atlantis… but also joining their little pocket of fighters in the briny depths. The worm that snatches them from all the baddies then being a snake… those are just the usual hiccups that you often see in an ARC that are usually smoothed out in the final edit. I noticed them, but would never mark a book down for such things.
What really had me drop a star was I found the plot jumped all over the place too much. As if too many ideas were being crammed into the one storyline, rather than being paced out into the series. I also didn’t like the way chapters would start mid-conversation and then, still mid-conversation, the story would be backtracked and the plot, situation and surroundings then filled in. It just came across as a little too disjointed for me. Please note – this could just be an issue with the reader and not the author or their work! This is not me saying it was badly written or terrible. This is just me explaining why I didn’t score it as high as I might have. No hate mail please simply because I, the reader, couldn’t come to grips with the writing style! 🙂
Also, and seriously not a big issues (none of them are big issues, minor flaws really in a great story) is that I feel a glossary might be needed for some readers. This is due to the vast array of mythical creatures, deities, places, objects, etc. listed from the world of fantasy. I knew what most of them were… but did find myself having to Google a few. So a glossary would have been nice. It’s a problem I’ve found with my own books and so, to draw the reader to my other work, the glossary can be put on the authors page rather than in the book. Just so readers have somewhere to go for an explanation. Something Mr Croft might like to look into?
Then there was the way the book came across if people are going to know and recognise each creature, deity, place and so on made it come across as more of an extension of existing work. So I’m not too sure if Mr Croft has had some shorter stories from this universe of his published elsewhere, or if the book is a culmination of writing in an online fantasy group… I don’t know. I just got the feeling this wasn’t the first works of this world, if that makes sense? This is not a bad thing, just a feeling I got that made me curious.
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. Ignore my constructive criticisms for the moment as they are mere niggles as to why I rated the book the way I did. The story was fresh, new, entertaining and enjoyable. I’ve already mentioned it to a few people who I know are into this sort of light-hearted fantasy. It is a good book.
Would I buy this book for myself? I probably would. And, as said, the ending has gotten me intrigued enough to see how the series unfolds.
In summary: Slightly disjointed and fractured in parts of the plot, but all in all a good and enjoyable read and one I would recommend. It is a good start to an interesting new series that anyone who likes fantasy, urban fantasy – or cats that can flip you the bird – should read.
Until next time,