Thursday, October 2, 2014

Early Critique: "Of Bone and Thunder: A Novel" by Chris Evans

I received this ebook for free via NetGalley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

A Standalone Fantasy Novel

To Be Released: October 14th, 2014

I'm calling this sort of book a word that the beloved Stephen Colbert has copyrighted: mantasy. Although this does have a few female characters (most of them being love interests), this is more something my brothers or people who like military fantasy might enjoy. I generally can appreciate male-oriented books, but some things I'd rather not read about, and planting seed is one of them (it should be noted I've read another book with that sort of thing in it, worded exactly the same). So, yes- this is mantasy.

When I first started reading this, it was hard to dive into- I have a penchant for wanting to know everything about the characters, but instead, I was launched into a discussion of how the monarchy/political system worked, as well as getting to know some whiny-ass soldiers. Given that I've been reading a bunch of urban fantasy lately, it's probably not fair to judge this book for its slow start- it's epic and military fantasy, so there's bound to be some densified information to be dropped on the reader early on, but I wasn't that enamored with the book's beginning.

The Plot:
Jawn Rathim signs up to fight for his country with visions of glory and valor dancing in his head, but quickly realizes the war with the Luitox is anything but that. Listowk and his band of soldiers try to outsmart an enemy that manages to hide in plain sight and silently assassinates the army sent to "free" them. Vorly Astol and his trusty rag (or dragon), Carduus try to adapt to the technologies the RATs (Royal Academy Thaums- scientific magicians) are building, but will they prove too dangerous for field use?

I expect a lot of books with dragons in them. It's no secret, given I have a tag/label for my blog that has "Dragons" with a total of three exclamation points. Of all the things that irked me about this book, the dragons weren't one of them- they were huge, monstrous, and relatively well thought out. If you're looking for dragons (called rags in this book) that have a lot of detail put into them, this book certainly delivers.

Given that this is fantasy based on the Vietnam War, I'm sure it's prudent to expect some coarse language, and generally I don't mind it used in books. But there came a point when I began highlighting every f-bomb, because their prevalence began to annoy me. I found over 200 scattered throughout the book, and it really didn't add much to my personal experience or make me empathize more with the characters, so I found the knee-jerk use of it somewhat redundant.

I mentioned that early on I found the soldiers rather whiny, but they grew on me once the book delved into action sequences, which this book has many of, even if some of them seemed a little repetitive and unnecessary. It should be noted that one soldier had a drug habit that I felt was never fully explored, but I heard from Benni's review (Benni's Bookbiters) that the author was still polishing the ending by the time the galley copies were sent, so perhaps the final version will be more cohesive in that vein. The ending had a twist I saw coming, due to the foreshadowing, but I thought it was a relatively satisfying ending, despite some plotlines being hurriedly dissolved.

Of Bone and Thunder is one of the more male-oriented fantasy books I've read, but I was still greatly entertained by it. Although I didn't appreciate some of the male-centric features of this book, I did enjoy the world building, which is probably the best aspect of this novel. After a slow start, the book progressed quickly, and was soon over- perhaps a bit too soon over for a standalone book. If you're craving a standalone military fantasy with an expansive world that may be more than a tad mantasy, this book might do the trick.

Note: The book I received was a review copy and this is a pre-release critique, so I have no idea what changes might take place in the published novel.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for great world-building and mantasy themes.

Content: Ages 18+ for sex scenes (one, plus masturbating... lovely), violence (war crimes- but no rape depictions), and lots of f-bombs (as in 200+).

Page Count: 497 pages expected in the hardcover edition.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel Free to Express Yourself:
Agree? Disagree? Have something to add?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...