Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thomas by Michael G Manning

I'm always keen to give self-published authors a spin, and at a glance Thomas by Michael G Manning seemed like the kind of book I could get behind, but it became increasingly clear as I progressed that this novel was desperately in need of serious structural edits, not to mention a fair amount of copy editing to clear up issues such as chronic head-hopping and far too many other gremlins.

Look, this is not a bad little story. I never quite did feel as if I wanted to throw my iPad across the room, but it could have been so much stronger. I gained the impression, while I read, that this was based on someone's RPG campaign, which in itself wouldn't be awful if it weren't for the fact that two of secondary characters could easily have been excised from the novel without harming the story at all.

A big killer for me was the characterisation, especially of the female characters, who couldn't seem to have a conversation about anything else other than men. And one individual in particular. [sigh] Pacing was a big problem as well, and important narrative milestones were missing or muddled, not to forget the the typecasting of human = good, orcs = bad. I suppose this wouldn't bother younger readers, but as a seasoned reader of fantasy I wanted more.

At its heart this is a sweet story; perhaps a little too sentimental for my tastes, so I suppose the fault lies with the reader, not the author. If you're interested in a messiah-style tale where an orphan-turned-cleric is charged with saving the world, then this one may blow your hair back. This was a not-quite-hitting-the-mark for me, unfortunately.

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