*I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review*
Let me start off by saying that I really admire self published authors putting out their first work. Not to say I don’t admire all authors, but I think there is something a bit more scary in doing it all on your own. I can’t imagine doing that myself so I really give authors, like Michael Lackey, a lot of credit. His first book to me is a cross between Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, but for a bit younger audience. It was a fun adventure and I found myself enjoying it, however there were also quite a few things I didn’t enjoy. The world Michael created was really magical and the journey was exciting, but there was a lot that could have been taken out, reworded, added, etc to make the overall story flow a bit better.
Zachery Morely gets more than a basket of herbs from the family garden. Follow him as he is visited by an evil demon planting the seed that will destroy his world. What help can King Gabriel and his Kings Guard be against pure evil? Can they stop the demons from summoning their master? The Champion of Light will try and stop them, if he would just hurry and turn eighteen!
First, I think that synopsis is not very good and quite frankly does not do the book justice. I don’t claim to be a writer, but as the reader I know a good synopsis pulls me in, it doesn’t confuse me. I think this synopsis should have been written with more detail and really tell more about the story. Here would be my synopsis of the book:
On the day Zachery Morely’s mother asks him to fetch herbs from the garden, he never expected to find himself face to face with a demon. A demon who has planted the seed of a sinister tree that feeds off the living. Zachary and his father George request the help of the King to figure out what this tree means. Only when the tree consumes its first human being and takes it true, human like form, and hear its warnings do they realize their world is in serious danger. Zachary sets off on an epic journey with the King and the kings guard through lands of men, dwarves, and elves. He confronts elven wizards and dragons, and acknowledges he is more powerful than he thinks, in order to help find the champion of light and save his world from evil.
Even that isn’t perfect but I think it makes the reader understand a bit more of the story they are about to read. I really enjoyed how many elements Michael put into his story, all the creative names and places, the magical components and the threatening situations. However I felt there could have been a lot more detail. The use of adjectives were abundant and sometimes unnecessary as were the choice and repetitions of some nouns, but there just wasn’t a grasping visualization of the world that really pulled me in. I also felt each character sort of read the exact same. They didn’t really have much differences in their dialogue or individual traits except for what we were told about them, like what they looked like. I didn’t feel the connection between Cassy and Zachery, but I did like Benzoete, the High Elf Wizard and Barrok the dragon even though he didn’t talk, I just like dragons. It was a bummer not being able to really connect with any one character though.
Another aspect of the book that I noticed a lot while reading was as the reader I was brought to conclusions, rather than be allowed to come to them myself. Personally I like being able to tell whats important and what might not be, because that sort of keeps you guessing at the story to come. Instead I was told that this tree that really hadn’t posed too much of a life altering threat yet was going to be “the end of their world as they knew it” or “the wizard’s next statement changed Zachery, forever.” Things like this through out the book did not need to be added and I think it was what made this book more suited for younger readers. Older readers can pretty much determine when a main character is told something life changing or not. Or if there is enough description of the villain or evil demon or evil source, then the reader should know ok good things aren’t about to happen. Being told constantly what to think wasn’t too fun. I also don’t think the little insights into what Zachery was thinking, the italicized sentences put in through out chapters, needed to be there at all. It disrupted the story and most times I would actually skip over them so I wouldn’t get side tracked. Ways that I think work better for this are when authors write a short paragraph chapter every once in a while through out the book on what the character is thinking. This way it doesn’t break up the story every other sentence and since its made into its own chapter the reader is prepared for the break in the story. Lastly, I think there were quite a bit of editing errors through out the book that took away from the reading experience, but quite frankly that wasn’t my biggest criticism and I don’t think it was too bad.
My fiancé started to read this book as well, and though he doesn’t read as much as I do, he did enjoy it himself and said its easy and fun to read. I agree with him that it is very easy to read, again why it may be better for younger readers. I thought the idea for this story was good and for Michaels first work I think it is a great start. He clearly has a very active, wonderful imagination and now just needs to find a happy harmony in putting it on paper and making it flow for the readers.