Monday, February 18, 2013

The Unfading Heiress: Walter Dinjos

Title: The Unfading Heiress 
Author: Walter Dinjos  
Stand Alone or Series?: Series (Book One in the Soul Switch Trilogy)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Publish Date: November 23, 2012
Pages: 526 (pdf) 
Obtained: Review copy obtained free from Library Thing.

Synopsis obtained from In a land where death transcends time and space, a Ghostly War is being raged against the living. Late King Eldorman has the power to end this war, but he wants justice for his beautiful murdered daughter Arengel.

However, Arengel’s destiny lies once again with the living, when she falls in love with Adel, a lowly Earmburgian. Finally, the prophecy of The Man with the Red Aureole will come to pass, but Arengel needs an earthly body to fulfil it.

The journey that Adel must take to help Arengel will not only test his strengths to the limit but also that of his close friendship with Jeofren, a fellow Earmburgian. It is a race against time through dark and magical landscapes, and even when the task seems fruitless, Adel must see it through to the end.

The Unfading Heiress is ultimately a story of ghostly love, human greed, friendship and honour set amid a raging war between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead.

This review contains spoilers.

Well, I did my best. I got through 344 pages out of 526 before I decided that I really couldn’t take anymore of it. I should’ve known it was going to be like this when I started the book seeing as I read the first eight pages of the novel about five separate times -- because I would start to read -- immediately lose interest and want to do something else. Bad sign. 

Regardless I wanted to give this novel a fair chance, the idea behind the novel was incredibly unique and the author’s first language from what I hear is apparently not English -- so I though the prose would take a little bit to grow on me. Unfortunately -- the the idea that provide the foundation for the novel were poorly executed.

Let me start by saying that the first thing that annoyed me was the unpolished prose. reading it I was having flashbacks to reading ‘Frankenstein’ and seeing the word ‘ endeavor’ on every page. This was much worse. If I ever see the words ‘witore’, ‘bosom’  among other words again it’ll be too soon. Not only that the author’s descriptions of things are very repetitive. I can recall seeing the sentence “none had even a wisp of red hair much less a Red Aureole” at least three times. (Also can we just take a minute to address the fact that I dislike the word bosom -- I mean there is a time and a place to use that word but I mean COME ON can’t we just call them breasts too? Why do people always feel the need to flower sexual body parts up? it’s cheesy and ridiculous -- I get that the author was going for an archaic tone -- which really worked in some cases -- but the amount of times I saw the word bosom was tedious and uncalled for! -- Admittedly that is a personal hang up.) 

I felt no connections to the characters at all, the relationships that characters have are superficial at best. Even the main romance of the story -- there is absolutely no chemistry between them! In fact the only reason they seem to be together is because the story dictates that they must and the story tells us (rather than shows us) that they are in love! In fact I found many of the characters completely unsympathetic -- which really hinders the author’s attempt at suspenseful action driven plot -- because that relies on the reader caring about what happens to the characters. 

The story itself has a overly dramatic soap-opera like feel to it -- with the same weepy relationship angst replying over and over and over again (which doesn’t help the overall meandering feeling of the plot in the slightest). Parts of the story honestly just seemed to be filler. There was one point where the Adel, was basically just going back and forth on a “treacherous journey” where he’d get half-way and then realize ‘oh man now I have to turn back and go the other way”. Rinse. Repeat. It just really seemed to me like the author had in mind a page number in mind that he wanted to achieve and didn’t have any idea how to achieve it. Not to mention that some of the characters actions are just completely unbelievable. 

For example: at one point Adel is poisoned, although he doesn’t quite know it yet, he realizes that there is something extremely wrong and it’s hindering him. He and the ghost he is traveling with get to a point where it is extremely dangerous for Adel to keep going without assistance to ward off the monsters in this pit he has to cross. The ghost (his love interest’s father) tells Adel to stay put he’ll be back with help in an hour -- instead of waiting Adel decides it’s best to walk right into the monster pit by himself and we, the reader is only given the reason of -- he wants to impress the ghost because the ghost doesn’t like him. That is paraphrasing yes -- but it’s the gist of what happens. It’s just not believable -- or rather more importantly, the books flaws didn’t allow me the ability to suspend my disbelief.

What I think really nailed the last nails into the coffin for this book was the fact that the plot turned on flimsy mistakes, mixed with the fact that author chose to tell rather than show. Case and point being the entire story starts out with someone we’re told is a powerful, well-known sorcerer with, and I quote “immense knowledge of spells” -- messing up the incantation. What’s more is (but I’m not quite sure about this since this happened around the time I checked out of the story) -- I’m pretty sure it was a spell the sorcerer developed himself. 

In any case, as much as I disliked this book there were a few good qualities, the dialogue in the beginning had an appropriate aged tone reminiscent of Shakespeare's work -- it had a nice lyrical quality to it without being too cheesy. However this tone isn’t one that was maintained well throughout the story. The lyrics he does write for the songs in book however were very beautifully written. There was also one point in the story where I thought the story was actually going to get interesting. The unfolding of the scheming Princess Glewen’s plot was well done -- and shows that this author does have potential. Hopefully the rest of the trilogy is more polished and less meandering. 

Rating: 0/10 (didn’t finish).

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