Welcome once again, ladies and gentlemen, to another indie genre work review. So, here we have a high fantasy tale which, according to Ms. Murray’s own admission, is to be aimed largely at an audience of readers between the ages of 8 and 12. Here’s the book’s Amazon listing description:
“Miranda is plagued by vivid dreams of a another world. A world of castles, forests, Ice Caves, and dragons. She goes to a bookstore to see why she is having these visions, and learns she is a Dream Walker. Miranda heeds the call of need, and travels to Mystica. For years, the wizards have been trapped in stone. Now, one curious boy has released Midnight. Midnight gathers an army, and prepares for war. Miranda needs to find the white wizard Lightning and free from his stone prison. Can Miranda free Lighting and save Mystica?”
As with my other reviews, I’m going to present below a list of notes as taken during my reading of the book. To preface what follows, I received a copy of this work in electronic format in exchange for an honest review. I’ll wrap it up with a conclusion statement summarizing my findings.
Pg 5- Uh-oh. We have a full-page of ‘We’ve Been Here’ to start the story. A magical force seeks a Chosen One to rectify an imbalance in the world between the powers of Good and Evil. We even have ‘Darkness whispers’ in the opening paragraph. We’ve been here, folks, and we’ve been here a lot.
Pg 5- Last line on the page: ‘It was about to the person to follow the dreams, and do as they bid.’ Is this even English? Ms. Soares should have caught this, as the listed editor on the work.
Pg 6- This Dream Magic is awfully myopic. It’s looking for a host who is, quote, ‘not only strong, but compassionate. Someone who would want to help people. This was a powerful magic, and in the wrong hands, could be detrimental to Mythica and all future Dream Walkers’. Soooo, the Dream Magic is seeking a Mary Sue?
Furthermore, this flies in the face of the very next paragraph, which states that there are ‘safeguards in place, in case a Dream Walker turned to the dark.’
Pg 6 (still)- More pablum right after. The ‘Cloud of Dreams’, where successful Dream Walkers go when they’ve succeeded in their mission on behalf of the Dream Magic, reeks of barely concealed allusions to Heaven. It’s rather heavy-handed.
Pg 7- Paragraph one- ‘It thought to itself, there are a lot of people on this word.’ I believe ‘world’ is what’s meant. It’s a small typo, but again, editor Susan Soares should have caught this.
Pg 7 (the rest)- The Dream Magic selects Miranda, a friendly girl with a deep sadness. She’s an orphan child, we’re informed, which gives us yet another trope to check off of the list. In fact, it’s very Harry-Potter-Wish-Fulfillment setup in nature.
Pg 10- Mortimer is introduced.
‘-and would make his way out when they way was clear.’ This is just another typo, but within a two page span (page 8 having been empty of text). Ms. Soares, you’re not doing your job.
-‘as he wondered around- two paragraphs later. Wandered, I think she meant, not wondered. A, not O. Ms. Soares? Are you awake? Did you actually read this material?
Pg 11- ‘Mortimer lived isolated in the castle.’ This is a redundancy here, because this exact line was already said on the previous page, halfway down. Here it is again, halfway down the page.
Pg 12- ‘splashing himself with sprays of waves’- This, this is just unacceptably awkward and unnatural phrasing. Ms. Murray, fire your editor; she’s not looking out for you.
Pg 14- Stylistically, I am forgiving of this bit of world-building lore and its somewhat repetitive simplicity. But ‘the embroidered stars shimmed at night’ is again, an easy catch! ‘Shimmered’ is the word, Ms. Murray. Seriously, fire your editor, or catch this on your own. It’s getting old.
Pg 14 (still)- ‘Namesake star’ and ‘star he was named after’ in a three sentence span! This level of redundancy would be insulting even to the 8 to 12 year old readers who are the admitted primary target demographic!
Pg 15- “Being the two strongest wizards, Lightning and Midnight had many grand duels of magic, which often ended in duels, leaving both wizards frustrated.” This is either another inexcusable redundancy, or a mis-type of ‘draws’. Either way, both author and editor are asleep at the wheel, and this narrative Big Rig has plowed into the woods off the literary I-90.
Pg 16- (First line)- How do you miss the typo here, ‘Msytica’?
Pg 18- Midnight traveling in the form of black smoke. If this is not a blatant appeal to the Death Eaters’ movements in the latter Harry Potter films, I don’t know what is. This screams copycat, and not even of the well-executed sort; it’s more like a cheap rip-off.
Pg 18 (still)- ‘he accidentally his head on the cliff’. We’re missing a verb here. Did he hit his head on it? Strike? Bump? Whack? Context is obvious, but we’re missing a verb here! This is basic writing mechanics!
Pg 19- ‘Swarms of sharp-fanged attacked him,’- Sharp-fanged WHAT?! We’re now missing a NOUN!
P 24- I skipped ahead here to get past this poorly-written fable to get back to Mortimer. It’s that bad, folks.
Pg 26- Herein we are introduced to the King of Mystica, and the style here is so simple, saccharine, and filled with MORE TYPOS that I cannot justify wasting any more of my time on this work.
One may say, “Well Josh, you’re a 34-year-old genre veteran, grown cynical and jaded.” And that’s a fair observation. Fair, but it does not address the heart of the problem with this tale in even the merely 26 pages I spent with it. Any 8 to 12 year old genre reader will likely be a child who already appreciates technique and style. I’m a long sight older now, but I imagine that no child with the patience and comprehension to actively seek out fantasy books would be unable to see the glaring mess this story is.
It’s pandering and patronizing to the Nth degree, and any kid 8-12 with the reading skills to get into fantasy will, I suspect, see that.
This one goes down as a DNF, and I fear I’ve spotted no redeeming value within it.