September 20, 2012

The Wizard of Crescent Moon Mountain - book review

The Wizard of Crescent Moon Mountain by Oldman Brook is a story about an adventure. Nine companions, comprised of dwarves, men, elves, Otso (men who can shapeshift and become animals), and a wizard set out across the land to battle Warrior: the evil entity that threatens their world.

1. The book is incredibly family-friendly. It is listed by the author as “children’s fantasy” and it is. There is no swearing, no inappropriate scenes, and no crude humor. There is a lot of fairly graphic violence, however, so be forewarned. At 431 pages (I’m guessing close to 150,000+ words) it doesn’t really strike me as a “children’s” book (as the word "children" to me conjures up the ages between 8-12), but perhaps the author means “young adult” - the classifications in Britain might be worded differently than here in America.

2. There are very few mechanical errors. I think I caught maybe 3 typos and they were all very minor. (I didn't even make note of them because I wasn't sure they were truly errors, or simply a result of different grammar/spelling rules between America and England).

3. The characters are likeable. The dialogue flows well. The characters are fairly believable and each has a complex back-story that the author unwraps for us to more fully understand as the novel moves along.

4. The plot/story is interesting. You will want to know what happens next.

5. This world is very well-thought-out. There are creatures you may not be familiar with, but the author helps you along by describing everything very clearly. This is classic fantasy complete with magic, dragons, a quest, an evil to overcome, and extraordinary weapons.

1. The book is written in the third-person-omniscient/present tense. This took some getting used to, and I felt that the author did himself a disservice by using the present tense. Somehow, it detracted from the adventure and deflated any excitement. This may have also been due to the fact that the author tells us what every single character is thinking all the time (that’s what 3rd-person-omniscient means, for anyone who hasn’t taken a creative writing class). There’s no guess-work involved. The reader always knows exactly what is going through every character’s mind.

2. Earlier I mentioned that everything is described very clearly. That is a pro in fantasy, however, the sheer amount of description in this book turns into a con fairly quickly. I think that if you took Robert Jordan and Charles Dickens and told them to write a book together, this might be very similar to what you would get. Now, if you LOVE Charles Dickens, then this book might be right up your alley. I, unfortunately, do not love Charles Dickens, and the descriptions in this book made reading it feel like I was wading through knee-deep waters.

3. This is related to point 2, but I thought it deserved its own bullet. In addition to the over-descriptive writing, the author spends the entire novel “telling” the reader what is happening. This is a perfect example of what a story looks like when it is “told” rather than “shown.”

4. Perhaps because of the previous three points, you never really get to know the characters. You are told about them, but they start to blur together. The three dwarves are almost indistinguishable from each other. The two Otso are personality twins. The only characters that stand out at all are the wizard, the two elves, and the dragon.

5. There is very little emotion in the story. It might have been the present-tense (I had a hard time getting past that) nature of the story, but I honestly think it is the “telling” that is the culprit here as well, but either way, although you know about the characters, and you know their every thought, you never get “drawn into” their story. The author has done his best to keep you at arm’s length, never allowing you to “feel” anything towards these characters or their adventure. And that really is a shame, because their adventure is pretty cool.

As per FTC guidelines, I must inform you that I received this book for free in exchange for a review. I was not asked to write a positive review, merely an honest one. I have tried to do that to the best of my ability.

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