The Birth of Evil

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Last Free Dates: 26th Feb 21 to 2nd Mar 21
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...some of the ideas are unique, and the story itself could be engaging, but set against this I was fighting the editing and writing each step of the way, and it really needs a proofreader....

I wasn’t sure whether to pick this up because the description was so vague: no idea who the main characters are, no idea of the period, the world it takes place in, and the fact there is a typo in the description “survivals” for survivors, made me a little wary. However the length was novella, and I was reviewing so I did.

During its free run, the book did update its cover, from a volcano with eyes, to an actually quite striking raven which I much preferred. However it seems an odd choice for a title with obvious African influences and no ravens in it. With snakes the main enemy, a snake would seem a better choice.

The formatting is generally good: titles are centered and bold with a gap before each chapter (sadly not a page break), paragraphs are indented, and scene breaks marked with line breaks. Sadly the same cannot be said of the writing. There is a tense shift, past to present and back, in the first three sentences of the book. This book needs an editor less than it needs a proof reader, for example a confusion of ‘has’ and ‘had’ results in a sentence I had to read twice. Then I encountered “…long dark hair where were always…” and blinked. I kept reading because I wanted to know where this was going, but the grammar issues did not make it easy. Lists, for example, love commas. By page seven I did wish that book would pick a tense and stick with it.

One of my issues with a book is when it tells me something while showing me something quite different. In this case it tells me the King of Gods is kind and loving, then says he picked the mortal lands for a battle he knew no mortal would survive, then says he loved humanity so much because he saved a few. This doesn’t make me think he is loving as much as bipolar and most probably un-medicated. Or perhaps he might simply have good media representation, as it is made clear he was fighting for personal benefit only and when he surrendered the battle immediately ended. Note, the ones he saved were the ones that only worshipped him and didn’t know any other gods.

We are told that those people live peacefully because there is no evil, and then the first people you see immediately encounter a woman dying of incurable snakebite. Then we hear about people dying horribly of plague, and see envy, politics over tribal leadership, and worse. By the time evil enters the scene, late in the game, we have been drawn a picture of a world that could not be called peaceful and harmonious at all.

This is less a novella, then a collection of folktales contained by one over-arching narrative, and if marketed as such it would probably have a better audience.

I am torn between a two and a one. It is a truly different take on fantasy, some of the ideas are unique, and the story itself could be engaging, but set against this I was fighting the editing and writing each step of the way, and it really needs a proofreader. I suspect English as a second language may be in play, which would explain a lot.

As a reviewer, I have to consider this from the point of view of someone who would spend money for a book. I really want to give this a two, but two is average and this is viewed objectively is not. I am going with a one. Get it proofed or edited, and resend it, and this rating will go up.

Those who enjoy African-style mythic cycles may wish to give this, or the author’s other works a look, especially while it is free.

Rating: 1
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Hova (12 May 2021)
Sounds really interesting. I would really love to read it.

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