Pilgrim of the Storm, by Russ Linton (40:00)

IOD-PilgrimStormToday we see that an alien scenario—or character—can take longer to orient the reader, but that doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

What I gleaned about the story: Sidge had the grave misfortune of being born into a lowly servant species. He hoped things would improve when he was accepted as a novice into the otherwise human order of monks who serve the Storm, but even there his insect-like features made him everybody’s whipping boy. Today, however, that is about to change. Today he departs on the pilgrimage that will at last raise him to Acolyte. Assuming he survives the journey, that is.

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Note: I love the cover. Very bold and dynamic. Not only does it do its primary job of conveying the genre and situation with style, but it immediately pulls me into the story world and gets me wondering what’s going on.

Note: There’s a bit of a learning curve at the start, mostly because Sidge is such an alien character and I’m not sure I trust my instincts about what is or is not natural to him. This kept me at a bit of an emotional distance for a while, but the world is fascinating and well thought out, so I’m staying happily immersed in that part while waiting for the rest of my story legs to catch up.

WTF #1: Grammar

Analysis: He wished he would’ve paid more attention… This is one grammatical slip that really irks me. The correct construction is He wished he had paid more attention. I know lots of people speak that way in casual conversation, but as a narrative utterance from a character who has otherwise had impeccable grammar, this threw me out of the story.

Note: One of the things I like most about doing these IOD reports is that, sometimes, a book takes me out to the edges of my comfort zone. When I’m reading for pleasure, I can easily get impatient when the style or story type don’t immediately conform to the kinds of things I know I like. But with IOD, my rule is that I stick with the story for as long as it holds my attention, even if it isn’t my usual bag. Today’s book took me out to visit those edges for a while, but I am very glad I stuck with it.

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Grenheim's Thorn, by Clay Lewisson (2:26)

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is uniquely unqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.