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Necromancer: Dune Elliot

May 5, 2011

“The land of Ilyria is bruised and dying under the growing evil power of Morgeth. And the evil is spreading. All of Alatheia is in danger. As you read Necromancer you slip into a world of magic and mystery, both good and evil, that only a master storyteller could weave. Expertly woven into the tapestry of Alatheia is a small band of would-be heroes. Bound together by prophecy, held together by love for their land and each other, they will set out to save their world. Their journey is not easy, and there are those that will pay the ultimate price, but they will not fault in their quest to rid their home of the evil Necromancer.”

-Author Mary Adair

Necromancer has real potential although the story doesn’t feel terribly original. It gets off to a good, pacey start. The text is nice and clean, with very few typos or errors of punctuation; the mix of elves and valkyries feels a little forced to me (but I’m not a regular reader of fantasy so perhaps I’m being foolish here); and it would be pleasant to read about elves without silver threads and pointed ears being mentioned.

These problems are all minor, though, compared to the issues I found with the text. There were contradictions, exposition, extraneous words and tense-slippages which really got in the way of the narrative and stopped me enjoying the book as much as I would have otherwise. The good news is that it shouldn’t take much work to correct these problems and I suspect that the book which lurks beneath them might be rather good.

I read just four pages as of this book’s four hundred and eighty-two, but would have definitely read on if the writing had been just a little tighter. This is a good effort but isn’t quite good enough to make the grade: I hope the writer improves his editing skills before he publishes another book.

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  1. May 5, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I feel the description, which I assume you took from the cover or website, could be tighter, as well. I don’t think I’d read it based on the description. “As you read Necromancer…” pops out of the texture and breaks the flow.

  2. May 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I was confused by the description. The first line mentions the land of Ilyria but the second refers to Alatheia. A country and town or a change of name that’s slipped through?

  3. May 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    My guess is that “the land of Ilyria” is a country and Alatheia is a continent or world. But I agree it’s not as clear as it could be.

  4. May 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    If that’s the blurb, it doesn’t work for me, I’m afraid – first, it mentions “evil” four times. I don’t think it’s *that* necessary to hammer home the point that the Necromancer is evil. Secondly, “Morgeth” is a bit too similar to Morgoth from The Silmarillion, though maybe that’s just me being a huge Tolkien buff.

    In general, though, fantasy needs a little more than a band of unlikely heroes, a quest and a Dark Lord to keep me hooked these days – those are just such well-worn tropes of the genre. The detail of the valkyries is much more intriguing, and if the blurb mentioned more distinctive worldbuilding like this – and perhaps a main character, rather than a generic band of heroes – that would make me curious.

  5. May 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    It also bothers me when descriptions say things like, “Expertly Woven,” or another such claim regarding the author’s skill. First, that sort of thing should be said by reviewers if it’s quoted on the book cover. Second, it’s the author’s job to show his or her skill in the description rather than claim to have it.

  6. Jane Smith
    May 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Yep, the quoted text is the back cover copy in full. I agree with the “expertly woven” comment; that text is a selling tool, and here it’s not used to intrigue the reader, it’s used to metaphorically whack him about the head until he gives in and buys it. I’ve seen a lot of self published books which do this: the writers either don’t understand what this text is for, or they’re just not good enough writers to produce good selling copy. Either way, it counts against their books.

  1. June 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm
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