Dawnthief is a first for author James Barclay and myself, and I must say for a first book-date it was pretty sketchy. Not that I don’t think the novel (first in three series “Chronicles of the Raven”) was an intentionally badly written book. I actually thought for a fantasy novel the author created a rather unique story line. Which lets face it, with over one hundred thousand new authors cranking out manuscripts per year, is not all that easy to do.
No, my issue with the book wasn’t about content or characters or even story line; all three aspects of the book have what it takes to create a really good tale. What I was disappointed in was that the author took the ingredients for a really great story and only wrote half of it. Kind of like having all the ingredients for a frittata, then only cooking it half way through. The result being, Barclay ended up with a story that, in my not so humble opinion, is one of the most underdeveloped, finished stories, I’ve ever read.
What only took the author 399 pages to say, should have taken him at least twice as many, if not more. Where he was given incredible opportunities to create layers of richly done back story, intrigue, and world building, Barclay instead chose to serve up only what he absolutely had to and still call it a book. Almost as though he was afraid that if he used too many words he’d bore the reader. The only boredom this reader suffered was the recurring disappointment of a half told story.
I generally file novels in one of three categories: Bad, Good, and Fabulous. After reading Dawnthief, I now find myself compelled to create a fourth: Had all the potential of a great novel but…
Will I be reading “Noonshade“; #2 in the “Chronicles of the Raven”? Let’s just say my perpetually optimistic outlook is the only reason I’m considering it.
On my reader scale of 1-5 stars, “Dawnthief” gets 3 stars for overall read, and 4 for potential. Crossing my fingers my generosity is not wasted.