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A Cardboard Cutout

3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-09-18

Ascend Online Book 1 is what I call a cardboard cutout of a story. The characters are flat, the detail is poor, and the story is wooden.

6 long term friends go on an adventure. At no time is their real world life described, the basis of their personalities explained, or how they can afford to up and leave the real world for a virtual one explained adequately. They dont feel like theyve been together forever. And for some reason they all appear to defer to one guy in the group in decision making and leadership. We arent looking at 6 people playing a game. We're looking at 1 guy with 5 others in the order of assistants or possibly willing slaves with no will of their own.

There isnt much detail to anything. Ive listened to the entire thing and couldn't tell you what anyone's hair colour or body build is. Who is the tallest member of the group? The most attractive? What annoying querks do people have? Their virtues? Where are people from? Ive lived mostly in the South of England. That has had a huge impact on my personality. I think the characters are American...maybe. I should be able to provide something like detail but can barely remember anyone's actual name because I dont have a picture of that person in my head.

The Land has a cast of unique characters and Richter has personality and humour in spades. Awaken Online makes a point of fully fleshing out each individual character, their emotional and psycological issues. And Devine Dungeon provides a unique look from the other side as a Dungeon is more or less the protagonist of the story. Ascend Online though feels like grinding away 1000 hours in one of those old school MMORPGs like Legend of Mir or old school WoW only less distinctive. You could easily give this one a miss. There's better out there.

And the narrator. He did his best work while reading The Iron Druid Chronicles and, like Kevin Hearne, he peaked in the early books, growing less distinctive and proficient as time goes on, though I admit that he might just have been hampered by the poor quality of writing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great Concept, Novice Writer

4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-04-18

The best part of this book is the concept of an entire Dungeon being a kind of Mimic and forming a symbiosis with Dungeoneers for food while giving them loot.

The worst is that the author isnt that great at writing stories. Its not bad and has its moments which were quite amusing but he needs to learn more, refine his ability. Same goes for the voice actor used too.

Im giving no2 a shot as I did enjoy the ride.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

Meandering But Not Without Charm

4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-11-17

For a story about the oversight of magical law this book contains little in the way of the application and exploration of what it really means to be a being of magic or subject to the law.

Law, as one should know, is not that which is written but that which one can enforce with perception and power, for law without these isnt more than wind.

The beings of Fletchers imagination are said and stated to have ability, but the book hardly shows the power and price of their magic.

It could have been a prologue, a single novella, to the main story I suspect is Book II and III. And meandering is a word that fits the gentle bend of its narrative from first gambit to rebuff of antagonists.

That said the ease of sweep down river does show a cast of characters- The Cook, The Smith, The Wizards of North and South - which do strike a cord with the reader and are well portrayed and curious.

It was not uninteresting but I'm left with the sense that it couldve been a lot more than it was in substance and style. Maybe the sequels will fulfil my desire for more.

A good start. Heard worse. Im willing to hear more.


out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-17

Here is how you write a story:

You describe the daily lives of the inhabitants. Their mundane every day world.

You throw into that mundanity something fantastic.

The inhabitants acclimatize to the new reality.

And the reader emphasizes to the rise or fall of the characters from their every day lives to the new lives they now lead.

Here is how Kevin Hearne wrote a story:

He starts with Atticus O'Sullivan's every day life, introduces an artistic piece of histrionics presented in a fart joke grade humorous way, then has him get into a few fights as he solves the problems he probably created for himself in his long lived life.

He, Hearne, is good at it.

Here is Plague of Giants:

The story starts in the aftermath of an unreasoned invasion where pretty much everyone is sad and trying to survive and rebuild.

The inhabitants of the world are trying to find out why the invasion happened while explaining their witnessing of its coming.

The reader has no hook to get them interested in the story, there is just a lot of information presented with little context. There is no change from mundane to fantastic, just a continued sense of sadness and loss - the fall in fortune without the initial presentation of good grace which is like watching a news broadcast about a war torn country; it is sad but those people are far away and I know nothing about their world so I don't "care".

No humor of any kind, not even gallows humor which would fit the setting. Zero violent engagements, which the author is practiced at writing. Their is nothing to make one care about the characters or events. And I cannot for the life of me describe any of the appearance of any character or any construction where the events take place. The descriptions exist, I remember them, but they don't stick in the mind. Just said once and forgotten.

In short Kevin Hearne decided to write a different kind of story, which is fine, did the total opposite of everything he is practiced at, which is not fine as its not mostly well crafted with a few shaky new bits he isn't practiced at, its mostly garbage, and chose to forget everything he knows about writing fiction, which is why its so unrelatable and unreadable.

To conclude, I'm left asking myself as I listen to the audiobook of A Plague of Giants: what the in the name of sanity was this man thinking when he wrote this because I know he knows how to write properly?

The best thing that can be said about it is that it IS NOT American Gods by Neil Gaimen. That BORED me. At least A Plague of Giants has some interesting aspects - mostly around the magic system. But it's a huge step down in quality and content of a splendid writer.

And I'm a little bit sad about that as I like the guy for who he is and compared The Iron Druid Chronicles to the works of Jim Butcher and J.K. Rowling.

This Author Needs a Dictionary

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-17

To look up and learn the meaning of the word, "Appearance". I cant name the protagonist's hair colour...or anyone of the other character's hair colour. Or what they look like. Or anything else about them.

A good story. But I have only the vaguest idea of what the world looks like.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful