Thief’s Blade, by C. Greenwood (7:06)

IOD score cardToday we see that having a pretty scabbard is nice, but it’s not what swords are for.

What I gleaned about the story: Luka and his younger brother have spent most of their young lives locked in a tower. Until today.

Find this book on Amazon.


WTF #1: Faux-logue

Analysis: The book opens with a prolgue, but it’s not actually a prologue. It’s a full-page infodump, perhaps recapping what’s happened in other books set in this world. If it had been headed “What has gone before,” or “Previously, in the Dimmingwood,” I might have taken it in stride. But the word “prologue” sets an expectation. I don’t know about other readers, but to me, it implies that we’re going to see an important scene that happened before the events of this book begin. Unfortunately, this page of text did not deliver on that expectation, leaving me to wonder what happened.

Note: Chapter one begins: “Wake, young master. The hour has come for your escape.” If I had hit this without the infodump-a-logue that preceded it, I’d have been immediately invested. Joining a story where somebody is about to escape leads to all sorts of tantalizing questions. Who is he? Why is he in captivity? Who is helping him to escape, and what do they get out of it? But unfortunately, the prologue spoiled all of that mystery, or at least seemed to. So I’m not reading this with questions. Instead, I’m reading it with annoyance at having just read a spoiler right inside the book.

WTF #2: Unstable description

Analysis: Our “young master” has been awakened by a faithful servant who is described as “an indistinct shadow leaning over me in the faint candlelight.” So clearly, the guy holding the candle is all but unseeable. Yet the narrator has no problem going on to describe things he sees on the far side of the room.

This sort of situational disconnect is one of the reasons you want at least one eagle-eyed continuity vulture on your beta team.

WTF #3: Echoing headwords

Analysis: The first page had a couple of short runs, but then page two hit me with three paragraphs in a row, encompassing five successive sentences, that all begin with “I”. In a first person story, the I pronoun is a tricky beast to manage, but when they come this fast and thick, they quickly draw my attention away from the story. Especially when they keep coming at the heads of sentences.

(For a deeper discussion of why this is a problem, check out these IOD-TV videos on Galloping “I” Disease, and Echoing Headwords.)

Final Note: I had higher-than-normal hopes for this one, given the obvious investment made in the cover and world map designs, and the mention of the author being a USA Today Bestselling Author. But all the packaging in the world can only get readers to open the book. It’s the strength of what they find inside that wins the day.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Try the free sample on one of my books or short stories and decide for yourself.

Stories From Social Media, by Ray Daley (0:55)
Short Stories Found Online, by Jonathan Day (1:31)

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 underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.