Friday, May 24, 2013

Insight (Beholders Book 1): A Review and a Giveaway

I am trying something new on my blog. I am going to do book reviews. It won't be a constant thing. Just when I read a book by one of my writerly friends I will review it here as well as on Goodreads. I also occasionally review books on and the Barnes and Noble website.

My reviews on Goodreads will tend to be brief and give a general idea of my feelings of the book. The reviews I will post on my blog will be more in depth. If you rather see the short version - just follow the link below.

Insight (Beholders Book 1) by Terron James

For more awesomeness check out the blog tour schedule

And don't miss out on the give away: a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a review of the second edition. I also reviewed the first edition.
Rating (out of 5):    
My Rating/Reviewing MO
Goodreads Page
Goodreads Review
Authors Webpage
Publishers Webpage
Recommended For: Every fantasy lover, suitable for all ages.

About the Book

See the Goodreads page (link above).

Pending Stars

When I finish the series this book has the potential to earn an additional star.

The Good

I really think the magic system in the Beholders world is cool. Beholders (the magic wielders) use something called "True Sight" to see and manipulate the worlds energies. James has really thought of some cool ways that this power can manifest itself. (I admit I got a sneak peak at some of the stuff from book two - I know you are jealous - and it is just as awesome.)

There are a lot of interesting little details here and there that bring the world to life. Things like the design of two of the major cities. The kings cross. The history of the world and the individuals in it, and how they are all connected (again some sneak peak knowledge helped there two). There are also some cool engineering tidbits and contraptions that are quite interesting. I won't go into details, because it would spoil it.

The very end has an awesome hock that will make you want to pick up the second book right away.

The righting is good, smooth. There is a fairly tight execution of POV which is important to me. The description is enough that I get a picture in my head but not so bothersome that I get distracted from the story (an improvement from the first edition. Also the back story is worked in well (not really any data dumps). And in most cases is handle expertly. There are still a few patches where events are summed up instead of played out (the old show vs. tell adage).

The Bad

I had three major issues with book:
  • It is about the world, not the characters
  • Some of the events I was most excited to see were skipped and referred to later.
  • The end fell short

I will cover each of these in more detail.

1. It is about the world, not the characters
First of all, this is not in and of itself a bad thing. I just personally prefer to read (and write) stories that are about individual characters. When I read the first edition I found it hard to connect with a specific character and care about their plight. When reading the book again I found it more difficult. For me, in the first half we are worried about Lon and his plight. But then that changes to the big world picture and we no long know who to root for. It kind of lost me a little.

2. Some of the events I was most excited to see were skipped and referred to later.
Often, one scene or chapter would end with the tantalizing promise of what lay ahead - only to have the event skipped over or summarized latter. It was a real let down. I also remember thinking to myself - more then once - when some event was referred to: I would have liked to see that instead of just hearing the characters talk about it. This by no means ruins the book. I think for me it goes back to number 1. The scenes were skipped because they did not contribute to the overall world story line - but I would have liked to see the character development that the scenes would have shown.

3. The end fell short
For me, the end fell short. Well, except the very end that has an awesome hook that makes you want to pick up book two right away. I don't want to give too much away. But a certain characters actions did not make sense to me. I could not see the change in view point or the reasons for the change. Also I thought some of the characters reactions to events at the end were both preemptive and excessive. I did not see how easily relationships like that would just fall apart. Again - this is a character thing for me.


Overall this book is a good fantasy read, and I can recommend it to those who are looking for just such a thing. I think this book would appeal to children and adults. It is also clean and free of fowl language. A big plus in my book. So be sure to check it out.