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Monday, July 8, 2013

3.1 on the Masq Scale. Blood Skies by @Daezarkian #fantasy #dystopia




Cover links to Amazon.com

Blood Skies



Written by Steven Montano




Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia


Book Synopsis


In a world where nightmares stalk the earth and the few survivors must battle the vampire legions of the Ebon Cities, a team of soldiers races to save mankind when a traitor threatens to destroy the future of humanity. Southern Claw warlock Eric Cross is a member of Viper Squad, and his mission is to pursue the witch called Red across the wastelands. His hunt takes him through haunted forests and blighted tundra, into war-torn cities and to the edge of a twisted necropolis. And before the journey is done Cross will uncover the dark origins of magic, and learn the true meaning of sacrifice.

Mark Lee's Review


I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. The author did a lot of things very well, but there are enough negatives that I decided to give this book a rating of 3.1 on the Masq Scale. First of all, there's good use of imagery and description. There were scenes I marveled at, the words painting a vivid picture.

However, there is another side of this coin. Some scenes took the imagery too far, causing more harm than good for me as a reader. I would skip a few paragraphs and get back to the action.

Also, some of these detailed passages were done as detailed dreams or visions. Some of these were necessary for one reason or another—characterization, plot development, and so forth—but despite this, sometimes I felt I had been briefly taken out of the story. The book starts with one of these, so my mind wandered right out of the gate.

The author's vocabulary and use of diction is another positive overall. There were words used that I had not seen before (or not enough to know their definition off the top of my head), but they weren't presented in a way that I felt the author was speaking over my head or down to me. The book is a decent vocabulary builder for the right reader.

However, there was one word that got on my nerves. The word "arcane" means "understood by only a few." Yes, the book has magic and other mysterious things, but the word "arcane" was used so much, it lost its meaning in a way. After a short while it no longer was a cool word. Instead, I would say, "Not again!"

Although it's clear the book went through an edit, there was one style choice that distracted me. Not enough commas were used, especially after long introductory clauses. If I didn't catch it, mentally putting in a comma, I would have to re-read the sentence to catch the true flow of the sentence. This would only be a problem for you if you are a grammar or punctuation nut like me (or at least I try to be).

I don't think the author did everything he could to capture the reader's attention, most notably in the first half of the book when the characters do a lot of traveling, something a lot of fantasy stories have in common. This time was spent developing characterization, but in many spots the plot seemed to slow or even pause.

The story takes place 20 years after an event which changed the landscape of the very world. Before that, the world was the reality we live in. But these two worlds are starkly different, so different that despite minor references to our world, the world before The Black, I had a hard time believing that one world could transform so completely into the second in such a short period of time.

In a way this distraction kept me reading because I wanted to know the details behind the scene. The answer didn't come until nearly 60% the way through the story, and it was a satisfying answer—I finally understood how the world could transform so quickly. Instead of answering my questions nearly all at once, a few more foreshadowing breadcrumbs during the character-building first half could have easily elevated this story to the next level.

Despite all of this, I did enjoy the story, especially the last 40% or so. It took me weeks of short, forced reading sessions to get half way (not a complete reflection on this story as I have to do this often), but I finished the last 40% in one or two reading sessions, basically in one day. At this point I didn't want to put my Kindle down.

Review Disclaimer: I picked up the book for free on Amazon.

Content Disclaimer: Book was marked mature due to violence and language.

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