2 Followers
3 Following
tesscatburton

TessCatLikes

New to the site...planting my flag...

Currently reading

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
Fallen (Fallen #1)
Lauren Kate
Armed
Davie J. Toothill
Cobweb Bride (Cobweb Bride Trilogy, #1)
Vera Nazarian
The Written (Emaneska #1) - Ben Galley If you are a fan of indie high fantasy and a plethora of adjectives, then this is the book for you!I first came across this book at the beginning of the year when Ben Galley ambushed a friend of mine in Waterstones begging her to buy his book. She was terrified, but I was amused and yes, intrigued. The book seemed to tick all of my boxes and the cover art is really amazing. I kind of hate the matte-type feeling, but I let that one slide. Needless to say, it has taken me a long time to finish it, but let's start with the things I liked about this book first.First of all it has to be said that Galley has impressed me by indie publishing his first novel to quite a high standard. My first novel will never (no, never!!) see the light of day so I'm impressed he has managed it. And he's made quite the splash too. My mum recently sent me links to his website and some articles about him. She raved about him, saying he sounded amazing and that I should take notes for my own writing. I did actually tell her that I was reading his first book and was an avid reader of his blog posts and we had quite a nice discussion about it all. If anyone follows Galley on the old twitter or facey b, you'll see that this is his full-time job and he clearly puts a great deal of effort into it all. *impressed face*So let's have a quickie review what I liked, shall we?1) The book started off rather well, it set the tone for the novel (dark and full of magic, awesome!). Galley gets points for a very good opening chapter.2) I really liked the main character. I was immediately intrigued by Farden. It took me a while to fully warm up to him and did end up liking the character a lot. He's not your typical anti-hero. He's got an edge to him: with the romance, the addiction, his bizarre relationship with the cat that was a little out of character but I loved it. I liked him!I felt that maybe a little more characterization may have been useful, but in all the character worked for me. I did find myself rooting for the guy and wanting to read more about his story.3) There were some details which I really loved and want to see more of! The whole "magic tattoos" gimmick was excellent and I just loved the dragon tearbooks. It's those little things; the new, exciting fantasy details that I really love!3) The plot in itself is really good: the kind of thing I like. The ending especially made me actually say "you know what, I think I actually will read Pale Kings". If I was giving a rating for the plot itself I would give five stars. The execution however let Galley down. Here is why:Galley's writing style is not really my cup of tea. I am not a huge fan of an over use of adjectives, nor am I a big fan of massive paragraphs of description. In some of the fast-paced scenes the description does pays off as I like to have more detail to help me visualize certain scenes like battles. But in all the never ending descriptions, however poetic, just annoyed me. This was the main reason it took me so long to finish the book. It slows down the pace and after a while just caused me to read on autopilot, reading without taking anything in until I found myself in the middle of the first plot twist without a clue what was going on.[Side note: was the first plot twist really a plot twist? I found it totally predictable]Yes, there were a few parts of the book which really grabbed me, but about 70% I just felt like this.The names were another thing that annoyed me. The names of the characters and places just struck me as "Tolkien gone wrong". It's not just the whole "vampyre" with a 'y' thing, it's everything. I mean: 'Kiltyrin' and 'Fidlarig'? 'Uncle Tyrfing'? I'd like to at least be able to attempt to pronounce these names! And while we're on the subject of names, who the hell is Ridda? He appears at the end of book 3 like "oh em gee it was Ridda all along", and I had to flip through the entire book trying to figure out who the hell he was. Did I miss this guy somewhere in the descriptive narrative? I just can't keep track of all these sporadically appearing characters with ridiculous names!One last thing before I end this review, and it is something a lot of other reviewers have picked up on. The mistakes. The spelling, grammar, punctuation mistakes that irritated me so much I couldn't resist tweeting them to Galley like "oi mister, fix this". I know it doesn't matter too much to some people, but if I spot any mistakes in a book my mind just leaves that universe likeI wasn't sure if I was going to pick up the sequel or not. By the ending of The Written I think I realized that I cared enough about the plot to see what happens. I do think there is an excellent chance for Galley to show us a better book in Pale Kings.And Ben I know you're busy writing Dead Stars at the moment, so if I could just add some constructive criticism that you don't have to listen to at all....- You really don't need so much poetic, cliched, adjective-y description to add filler to the novel. A little is good, but not too much! Your plot and characters are fantastic and that's what you should be focusing on. And please, enough with the italic excerpts at the beginning of each and every chapter. I hate to throw the word 'pretentious' in there, but yeah. Less is more!CONCLUSION: Good debut novel. It has its strong points as well as its bad points. Galley's strength is a really good plot and some intriguing characters. Writing style may need some work. But I am up for reading Pale Kings, and fully hoping Galley will rock my world with that one.