07/05/11

Book Report: The Book of Deacon

I found a site that had a bunch of links to free Kindle books, and since I now have a Kindle, I thought I'd give a few a try. Not expecting Tolkien or anything like that, but just something new to read. One of the ones I picked out was The Book of Deacon by Joseph Lallo. Keep in mind this will be full of spoilers, but I do my best not to give too much out.

It starts off well enough, though the writing is a bit rushed at times. Two nations that have been at war for so long now that they no longer remember why, just that they have to fight. A girl (our plucky main) doesn't like the war and doesn't like the fighting, which makes her an outcast. So, she moves around a lot. Early on, she stumbles onto a sword. Probably a magical one since it actually marks her, but she doesn't wield it or use it. She tries to sell it because she needs money for supplies. Not your standard approach, but hey, it actually makes sense, especially since she's not a fighter and I get the impression she doesn't know how to use a sword.

When she gets to a town that she might could sell it, things start to get a little...skewed. She gets her purse stolen (no surprise, really) but a friendly stranger buys her dinner and pays for her room. He then comes up later to talk with her. And yes, only talk, nothing more. She trusts him almost immediately and ends up showing him the sword. At this point I'm having serious doubts about her survival skills and her intelligence, but keep going to see what happens. During the course of the conversation, she discovers that he's some mutant human that basically has caused him to be born a furry, but hey, talking animal! Let’s get that cliche out of the way right now!

She ends up getting kidnapped, the sword taken from her, the army (the ones that hired the kidnapper) refuse to pay him the amount, so he kills them all and lets her 'escape', and she flees south. All because she found the sword. Apparently, this is a Special Sword, for no reason that we're given. Anyways, as she's fleeing south, she manages to get captured again, this time by the actual army, not an assassin working for them. She is eventually rescued by a rebel group that wants to end the war, and is immediately invited to join said group, which is in awe of her. Why? Because she's the one that found the Sword! Never mind that she can't fight, has basically no skills that will be useful to them, could possibly be a plant by the army, and doesn't even have the sword anymore. Doesn't matter, she found the fucking Sword, ya’ll!

At this point it occurred to me that I'm reading a Mary Sue story. An honest-to-God Mary Sue book that, while self-published, was available from Amazon. You know that feeling that you get when you're watching a movie that has a lot of cheesy pseudo-science and it gets to the point where your brain just says 'fuck it!' and turns itself off to save energy? And afterwards, you enjoy the movie a lot more? Yeah, kinda like that for the rest of the book. I just had to keep reading to find out how many cliches the author could wedge in.

And boy does he wedge them in! Since she has no useful skills and the rebel group could use a healer, she volunteers to learn. Ok, so that makes sense, and hey! she'll be useful now. On the way to her teacher's place, she befriends a baby dragon. Ookay...well, it's more a pet than anything else, so whatever. Her teacher is a grumpy white mage who kinda resents have to teach someone, but because he had agreed to work with the rebels (apparently, the army doesn't like mages of any kind unless they work for the army, which he doesn't want to do), he agrees to teach her. A few months later, they find out that the army is on her trail, so she bravely decides to lead them away from her teacher. Who pronounces her qualified to be a white mage. What...what?? She's a qualified (not master, just all she needs now is practice) mage, ready to go out in the world? After only a few months? Wait, right, Mary Sue, she's awesome and a prodigy so yeah. Shut up, brain.

Anyways, she eventually runs into her furry friend again, who takes her to this hidden village that is safe from the war because once you get into the valley, hardly anyone manages to get back out. Not that they want to because that would mean leaving a repository of learning like none the world has ever seen. All the magic masters start coming by and demanding to teach her, even though they don't know how capable she is yet, and so she embarks on a quest to learn all the magic schools. Which she does, in just a little over a month. *facepalm*

You get the idea. Just about everything she does, she ends up being good at. Really, REALLY good. And just about everyone she meets ends up liking her, usually right away. Oh, and the commander that's after her is related to her. And her dragon friend is intelligent, she just needs to grow up. And her furry friend is one of the Chosen whatevers, but she has to be the one to convince him of it. So, yeah, it just kinda stumbles on a rock about a third of the way through, and basically just rolls down a hill the rest of the way. What's sad is that the storyline has potential. I could see this becoming a good, epic story. But the rushed pace of the writing, the complete Mary Sue-ness of the main character, and the wedging in of as many fantasy cliches as possible just make this a laughable silly story. It was a free Kindle book, so I don't feel cheated. And in all honesty, I don't feel like my time was wasted because it gave me something silly to read on lunch breaks. Still, it didn’t convince me to pay for the rest, even if I am curious about what the sword is. I can make up something for that, and I think I’d enjoy my explanation better.
07/05/11 11:59, by , Categories: dubird.net, Book Reports , Tags: , , , ,