Scoville Units Unite

28 Feb

The Book of Deacon – Joseph Lallo

I was recommended The Book of Deacon whilst discussing good fantasy novels. It’s the first part in a trilogy by Joseph Lallo and was self published.

BookOfDeacon

Within 10 pages I was totally hooked. The descriptive text is simply breathtaking. Myranda Celeste wanders through a frozen waste spurned by those she meets. There is a piece of alliteration on p10 which I stopped and re-read about 4 times to just process it..

When all of the life had been drawn from the grass it spread skyward. Night flooded the field in spite of the sun above. In a grim finale, that too was blocked out by a curtain of black clouds. Only darkness remained, a darkness stirred by a frigid wind. Myranda strained her eyes, searching desperately for some wisp of what had been before. She saw faint, flickering lights far off in the distance. She rushed towards them, but one by one, the embers of light winked out, swallowed into the darkness as all else had. (emphasis mine)

Within the first 40-50 pages the dialogue is sparse with the narration taking place in the main characters head. By the end of the book though I decided if that had changed I wouldn’t have taken to the book as well as I did. Where dialogue does take place it is slightly hammy and seems to veer towards high-fantasy pretentiousness in what appears to be a grotty low fantasy setting. In a world with dragons, fox-humanoids and magic, it’s human interaction which stutters the immersion.

The book is totally centered on Myranda, although it’s named after another character. You feel that she is covered in mythical plot armour. When Deacon enters you don’t get the impression he is in danger either. In a Mary-Sue-ish twist, all the other important characters introduced in the novel are related to the main character already in some way.

The other let down is that you get brief glimpses into the lives of others in the book including the main antagonists, but only when it relates to Myranda. No character development other than small sections of text describing their nefarious plots to get to the main character.

As a debut book, and a self published one at that these can be forgiven. I am a massive fan of Pratchett, but cannot read the first two Discworld books as the voice in them is so poorly developed compared to what I am used to in the latter books (at least the good ones). The jokes are obvious and the wit and intelligence of the humour is nowhere near as developed as they were by book 8-9.

I’ve ordered book 2 in the trilogy so hopefully these criticisms don’t apply. But even if they do I’m sure it will be a good book and Lallo definitely shows promise as a fantasy author.

The e-book has various promotions and is currently free on the Kindle so there’s no excuse not to pick it up.

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