Happy Independence Day weekend for all you Americans!
If you missed my author interview with Iffix Santaph over his debut novella, Impulse, check it out here.
As promised, here is my review of the novel, which I received in exchange for an interview and review. Like last time, I’ve divided into five categories, and each was worth 0, 1, or 2 points. Scored on a scale 0-10.
Plot (semi-spoiler alert): The reader is introduced to the Gwalf, human-like creatures who live in the city of Trounador. Jendra is the main character and heroine of the novel. She and her friend Leon discover a human body which is unconscious at the start of the novel, and they want to find a way to find out where the human is from. Together with Leon’s cousin Toby, they search for a way to help the alien.
To do this they must dodge obstacles, like the Je’ rax. We soon learn a Je’ rax is NOT a dinosaur, but a scorpion-like creature with huge pincers. Jendra is caught by one, but Toby manages to make its head explode. Kids will love that line.
Along with Toby and Leo, her “just friends” friend (spoiler!) They run into the Lizan and have to be ready for the their attack, which is set up nicely for book 2.
The intended audience is “middle grade”, but I felt like this was more a YA (teen) novel than middle grade. Some of the dialogue was okay, but at times it was confusing. The author sometimes didn’t explain things well, like when he mentions the squig (half squirrell, half pig), brings it up several times, then never fully explains what it is or why it’s relevant to the story. The plot itself is not the most straightforward, and in the writing style space below you’ll see why. It’s unfair to give this a 0 or 1, so I’m going half. 0.5/2
Writing style: If you read my last review, you know I am not a huge fan of multiple points of view, and this book had even more than the last book. Whereas John was good at separating POV’s by scene, Iffix did not do as good a job with this. We got in to too many character’s heads, sometimes on the same page, and it made the story hard to follow. For adults, this isn’t a huge deal, but 11-14 year olds, the intended audience, will simply be unable to keep up. Honestly, this was a tough read, and I am an adult. 0/2
Editing: The editing was really well done. I didn’t spot any missed proofreading marks, or they were so few in number it didn’t bother me. The page layout was great. This was by far the best part of the book; effort was clearly put into this. 2/2
“Believability”: This varies from genre to genre, but the point is, can I believe what’s going on? I honestly struggled with this. The book is fantasy, so nothing was “unbelievable”, but I think there could have been a better job selling its concepts.
For example, the author talks about aliens such as the Lizan, who are clearly distinct from the Gwalf, but for some reason different species all speak the same language and the same way; the same was true with the humans. I was trying hard to figure out exactly where I was, Earth, or somewhere else. The plot itself is fairly believable; if you were trapped in a city surrounded by caves and waterfalls, wouldn’t you want to escape and explore the rest of the world? 1/2
Emotion: This is another made up section, where I give my emotional feel for the book. I have a saying: If you, the author, can make me cry, you will write a book as successful as Twilight. I’m not joking; emotions besides hot and cold are not easy for me. This section can be for any emotion, though.
I just cannot say I was moved enough to become emotionally attached. It wasn’t that the book was bad, only that it was not spectacular. Again, a 0 is unfair, but it really was not quite a 1. 0.5/2
Overall grade: 4/10.
I don’t like giving mediocre grades, especially since I do talk to Iffix online and he’s a genuinely sincere guy and very proud to be an indie author. The book is not terrible; the book was well-edited and his vision for Troundador City is exciting, with the caves and waterfalls. It reminded me of Pokemon, moving around in caves with mysterious creatures lurking about. The Gwalf are a society worth exploring in further. I just wish he had done so, and eliminated the too-often multiple POV’s between characters. Even if he wants us to know what’s going to happen, it’s often better if the reader does not. Hopefully the next books in the series will let the reader get to know Jendra and Trounador City further.
I will add this though: Check out his website and look at his Impulse Gallery, where he obtained artwork from DeviantArt artists. It’s really good. if only he had made his story a graphic novel…
You can also find his book at Amazon or visit his website iffixysantaph.com