People of the Sword by Neil O’Donnell: Book Review

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Cover of People of the Sword by Neil O'Donnell

2 Stars

The powerful wizard Crarnock has decided to wipe out humanity with the combination of his magic and his goblin hordes. In order to mount a resistance, the people opposing him must put aside their prejudices, band together and work as one.

My huge problem was that this needed a lot more editing. I’m not talking about just a few typos here and there, I’m talking about lots of typos, incorrect word usage that spell checker will always miss, characters saying gonna when their speech has otherwise been very formal, formatting mistakes, and more. It could also have used a general tightening up of the story line. I did read a finished copy, not an ARC. I would have had a hard time overlooking all of this even if it had been an ARC.

There were about three gigantic info dumps. I will say that O’Donnell has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this world he’s created, from the history and mythology right down to the smallest details, but my eyes glazed over as I read about the religious history and shifting power between the knights and druids. One character was supposed to be telling another the history, but when that one character talks for pages and pages, I have to call it an info dump.

The story itself was okay. I couldn’t help but compare it to The Lord of the Rings. I don’t want to go into that too much and give anything away, but I think even from my brief synopsis you can see that there’s going to be a little similarity. There was a lot of similarity in the overall arc of the story, but the details were different, if that makes any sense. I honestly never managed to finish The Lord of the Rings, so it didn’t bother me too much.

There’s a small thread of romance woven into the book and I didn’t buy it at all. The guy was great, if a little too perfect, but the woman was just mean to everyone, including him. There’s all this stuff about knights and druids not getting along, so I could almost buy it if she was just mean to the knights and got over her prejudice, but she was mean to the druids too. Just plain mean.

I did like the way the knights and druids had to face their prejudices against each other and overcome them in order to survive. That part worked because I saw where they were coming from and I saw the way the relationships evolved. It was believable.

I also liked that we got a little of Crarnock’s back story and why he hated people so much. I would have liked a little more than I got, but I definitely got a good idea of why he acted the way he did.

This might work for people who are huge fans of high fantasy if they really don’t mind editing problems. I am a bit of a stickler for editing. In all honesty, I can’t recommend it though. I would be upset if I paid for a book that read like a rough draft.

I received a review copy from the author.

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