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Fantasy Review: ‘Through the Dark Wood’ by Geno Allen

Like many who own a Kindle, I have been known to download a lot of books with no interest in reading them because they are free.  You know, just in case.  When searching through a forum I grabbed this one despite, or maybe because, the author was quite obviously sock-puppeting (shut up Microsoft, it is a word!) to push his self-published book.   Stuck in town; and with nothing but my phone’s Kindle app handy, I fired it up and gave it a fair go.  I made it half way.

The author has some basic story teller abilities.  While very trite, the quality of the ideas behind this book would hold up as a simplistic, by-the-numbers young adult book.  After all, this is not the first author to use the farm boy who takes on his destiny trope.  There was even an early scene involving a predator leaping right into a time-status field that was pretty intriguing.

But without some serious work the book will appeal to almost nobody.  A recap of the beginning is in order.  Orphaned shepherd Zam meets mysterious man, who passes on A QUEST then disappears while Zam’s head is turned.  He is then freed from his masters service by the master’s son, because the son had a dream and knows he should have been nicer the young shepherd.  Zam heads north, with no knowledge of what his quest really is.  He enters a town where he actual mentions to the first person he meets that he is on A QUEST.  After one day of archery practice(because he knows nothing about archery or sword work) he decides to take on a dragon.  Guess if he succeeds, I will wait.

The simplistic plot is problematic, but not the real issue.  I would have continued reading if the plot was simple but decently written.  But the dialog was terrible.  The main character spoke to himself, out loud, in completely unbelievable ways.  Example, on his way to save yet another damsel in distress he is saved from one predator by another.  His first thought?  “Were it not for that bird, I would be dead now, and Raine would never be rescued.”  No time for a “whew,” our Gary Stu Good Boy only thinks of others. 

Every single character had ESP or something like it as well.  Almost no conversation between characters didn’t involve them ‘just knowing’ some important detail about the future or the past.  A young girl KNOWS Zam is going to save her later, Zam paints a families lost daughter while trying to paint her mother, and old man can JUST TELL that Zam is trustworthy when first meeting him.  I could keep listing examples.

Lastly, this paragraph… will be written… as every paragraph in the entire book was… that is with excess… punctuation.. and pauses for effect.

Wrote more than I meant to for a DNF, but that is because there was enough there to prove the author could have something here.  As I said, with a lot of reworking the plot would make a good, easy read YA book.  But as is, it was not ready for release.

1 Star. 


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