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1.5 stars rounded up because it really felt like the writer tried her hardest even as so many things felt contrived and a mess!
Liz, a 19 year old author is coming home from her book tour. With her fantasy series almost complete her life is falling into place nicely. Then she’s kidnapped, but not for ill purposes, it’s William Shakespeare and he wants her to join his Immortal Writers group. Her words brought her eternal life but they also made real her power hungry villain, dragons, and her sexy hero Curtis. All that’s left to secure her place is to survive the final battle with the darkest part of herself…
When I put in the request this premise sounded really great but I guess I didn’t much think about what an immortal writers group would be… because the reality of it was quite nonsensical. It was very hard for me to believe that Liz’s 19 year old writing could make her IMMORTAL! It wasn’t mentioned that Shakespeare was only 18 or 19 either which is what he would be if it was potential greatness that made you immortal… And just because something is popular doesn’t mean its well written. So none of the parameters of what made an author worthy of joining this group were mentioned in a legitimate, consistent or believable way. This threatens the entire world of the book as the Immortal Writers group is a setting unto itself.
The castle that makes up the physical location is very cool and has lots of potential development. The imagination room was another aspect that was quite a cool way to introduce the dragons and reveal at Liz’s hidden darkness. I did get tired of hearing that it was the legendary sci-fi writers who came up with all of the technology… Most of them are so backwards compared to real technology. If you’ve ever read 50-70s sci-fi then you know what I mean… This would work for me if it was mentioned that the sci-fi writers weren’t allowed to write new work under pseudonyms (once they were considered dead) so they had to funnel their imaginations into something. Or that they could only write so many books under pseudonyms before it just got boring… something along this vein to give me reason to believe they are even capable of developing these ideas!
The problem that I found inexplicably from almost page 1 was how much I disliked Liz. I despised her from the beginning and only found her tolerable by the end and that is because I didn’t have to deal with her anymore! She was so full of herself in that false modesty way that modern people have, specifically modern young people. She’s so ridiculously self centered that she’s not even thinking properly. For example, she went on and on about how she thought they were going to poison her even though they said they needed her help! Why not just ask them for proof? It should be easy and duh it was, they have a Pegasus! No dragon attack needed! I’m expected to believe this piss poor thinker became IMMORTAL?! I just don’t buy it! I’ve never HATED a character as fast as I do this Liz. In the beginning she’s such a money grubber: “There was no way that any amount of money had created a flying, breathing pegasus and a terrifying dragon. Could it be real?” This is only like the 5th mention of money and the least damning but how can I root for this character? The insta love later is pretty bad but add it to the constant petting that the MC had to have and it was so full of herself!
This was a very ambitious premise that needed a skilled writer at the helm to work. And good writing it didn’t have… the logic many times didn’t work and made me roll my eyes… The different writers were another great premise but they all felt the same – it was their dialogue that set them slightly apart from one another… I’d prefer to focus on developing 2-3 writers and leave off the others for later in the series. As they were used in the story it was good to include them but they lacked presence and necessity.
I quite enjoyed Liz’s book world and the dragons that were developed to inhabit said world. It was inventive the way they looked different and had different abilities and different methods worked better to kill them. The training of Liz’s magic was also pretty developed if quite tedious. It was one of the few things the writer tried to draw out in real time and it was the LAST thing I wanted to experience first hand! So many details were like this! Like the unexpected blackouts with Healer, they left me wondering a little, but why isn’t Liz worried for her?! And it was quite easy for Liz to overcome her past, one quick imagining and it broke a barrier in her mind?! What? That’s it… One event with the proposing ex and Curtis professes his undying… well you get the picture. Individual plot points are good ideas but are left undeveloped so they don’t quite work for a grander whole. There were many more examples of problems like these but in the interest of not ruining things I won’t list anymore…
Still the end was the worst bit… it was so terribly contrived. The way Healer was handled was so mismanaged! As a reader I was howling and as a writer myself I was screaming at the lost potential! I really hate it when an author tells us how the next bit is supposed to play out then it proceeds to happen exactly like we were told! Boring much!! Added to the contrived bit and I wanted to DNF this… I hated how they planned everything and then it happened that way with only a slight twist here and there – so boring! And the emotions were so shallow – they talk about how someone ought to feel then they say the character says they feel that way. That’s not how real life works! Nothing surprising… Even the “twists” weren’t twists at all I saw them a mile away! The final battle was very overworked… I wanted to like the story but it was terribly juvenile – it read like a first draft.
BOTTOM LINE: Fed up with the self centered MC and the shallow writing.
Thank you Netgalley and Blue Moon Publishers for providing an arc in exchange for an honest review.