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Monday, March 31, 2014

4.0 on the Masq Scale! Game of Souls by @TeeSimps #fantasy #bookreview





Cover links to Amazon.com

Game of Souls

The Quintessence Cycle Book 1

Written by Terry C. Simpson

Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Coming of Age




Keedar Giorin still remembers the night when soldiers killed his mother. The Night of Blades. He was three, but the memories are written in his mind in blood, flames, scales, and his mother's mad cackles.

Assigned by his father to save two young noblemen or risk a repeat of the massacre on his home in the Smear, Kasandar's most lawless district, Keedar dives headlong into the mission. He uses his most secret skill, a magic that could bring the King's Blades hunting him, a magic that could be a death sentence if reported to the wrong ears.

But even that risk is part of his father's calculated plan. A plot to determine who was behind his mother's death, while securing a new ally for their guild, and seeing their people rise from squalor and oppression to strive for the identity and power they have all but forgotten.

Plans, however, do not always follow the path drawn out. What will Keedar do when a count takes interest in his magic? Where will he run to when the hunt begins? Can a young man now growing into his power find a way to defeat the most ruthless of assassins?





Bella's Review


I found this to be a very good book, hamstrung by issues that could've been avoided by some good beta readers and an editor with a eye for streamlining and smoothing prose. I know that many reviewers rate lower for poor editing, but I don’t, when it’s a matter of proof reading–spelling and grammar. This wasn't the case here, however. I will elaborate as I go.

First off, the prologue was very good. I found it to flow well and be very gripping. And the opening of the first chapter was also great. This is a good writer with a wonderful grasp on imagery. Later on in the story, the post-auction scenes were succinct but powerfully chilling.

The magic system (and its racial relevance) and religion created in this fantasy world was also fascinating, and well presented. Our author did not just “info dump” the whole thing on us, but spaced it out so we could learn it gradually. I really appreciate that in books.

The characters were, on the whole, good. They were interesting and engaging, and our younger characters showed a lot of growth through the story, which given what they were subjected to, was necessary and realistic. While the more focused and obsessed, older and set-in-their-ways-and-goals characters, obviously didn't do as much growing. But that was okay.

There were many intriguing elements introduced in this world, things that I really enjoyed. It dragged a touch here or there, but over all, it was a very engaging read. If these had been everything to it, it would have been an easy 5.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of places where the prose was very rough. It’s not grammatical inaccurate, but it does not flow smoothly. There are areas that it’s awkwardly phrased and arranged, or is repetitive. Repeating words or facts too much makes you feel like you’re stuttering while reading, and that pulls you out of your experience.

The other issue I had–and why I mentioned beta readers–is that I stumbled over a few places that felt like continuity issues. One seemed to be a character being one age in one chapter and then suddenly two years older two chapters along, when two years had not passed in the story. At least not that we were told. There were a few other things, but continuity in such matters is important to me. I don’t like having to flip back to make sure I didn't misunderstand something.

Given the above issues, however, I can’t call this a 5. But it is a solid 4 Fireballs and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy high fantasy.

Review Disclaimer: Book provided in exchange for an honest review.

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