H.A. Parker

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Smashwords book reviews by H.A. Parker

  • The Last King's Amulet on Aug. 14, 2011

    NOTE: The basis of this review is limited. Although the author has forwarded me their complete manuscript, I personally retain the right to refrain from reading the book further at any time or reason. If the book lacks a particular element in its writing, then it’s not worth the read. All grades are based on honest evaluations and will be supplemented by a couple of examples to prove my point. The Last King’s Amulet By Christopher Northern COLD HONEST TRUTH: •If I died a Catholic, I want to be the patron saint of Creative Writing; you need one. OVERALL STRUCTURE: B I like the idea of having a reluctant anti-hero being forced to participate in a type of war, and that’s something worth reading since the book seems to offer that as an idea overall. However, I am not entirely sure what kind of time period or cultural society that Sumto lives in. The emphasis here is quite unclear; you might need to work on that. CHARACTERIZATION: C I am not entirely sure if I can relate to Sumto as much as I’d like to say. Your writing from the first person’s perspective is somewhat interesting but not entirely compelling enough to pull my interest as a reader. The main reason why I say this is because much of his personal thoughts about someone are either bland or non-specific. Although I would like to see more come out of the book, I personally think this is one of its downfalls (from the first five pages I’ve looked at). Another problem I’m finding in your book is the introduction of terminology, histories, and people that are not so well described/fleshed out. For instance, you mention on the Yelian Shen on one hand but you don‘t say much about him other than the fact that Sumto treats him like family. Is there a particular reason why he considers him family? Another example is how you mention the Alendi and Tulian at the same time without mentioning the geographic location or the significance of these to Sumto. Normally, fantasy tales or any kind of work of fiction would mention the importance of these cities unless it’s obvious what these cities stand for (e.g. ‘Paris’ or ‘Berlin’). COVER DESIGN: A+ Without any of those updates that you made on the cover, I would’ve said that your cover looks awful. In the original cover, the font was lousy and I wasn’t sure what the scene of that picture depicted exactly. Apart from that, let me discuss the new one with some detail. I like the fact that Sumto looks more age appropriate and that you’ve portrayed the amulet because it’s got something to do with the story. However, I would caution you to come up with a more realistic portrayal of the story. Anime cover titles are OK, but they are more appropriate with graphic novels and comic books. Still, that does not mean I don’t think the cover looks amateurish in any sense of the word. FORMATTING: D I’m greatly disappointed with the way you formatted your work: no chapter labels, cover and copyrights page, preface, and definitely NO PAGE NUMBERS! I don’t know if having no page numbers bother you, but how do you expect the reader to keep track while reading your work? Another problem I’m finding in your work is that there are no spaces that makes your book attractive, especially when there’s no spaces between the lines you’re writing. I understand that you want the book to be single spaced, but there’s got to be a sufficient amount of space so that that reader does not feel like he or she’s reading some kind of fine print of a contract. I am not suggesting you’d format the book in ‘double space’, but somewhere in between. One last thing I keep finding with a lot of well to do self-published authors such as yourself is that the formatting of the fonts aren’t all that attractive. I’m sure there are other standard formats of writing that make this work a bit more attractive other than Times New Roman. BLURB: C You might want to have a different start; there is confusion between first and third person which may or may not excite the reader when he or she looks at it for examination. DIALOGUE: D I was not impressed with the dialoguing overall; the speech was confusing and lacked speech tags. That’s probably one of the first rules that you should know whenever you’re writing a fiction novel, especially between two characters. Apart from that I found several other major problems. First I noticed your comparisons are unrealistic. How exactly do Sharks ‘smile’? Are we on some Disney Pixar adventure like Toy Story or Finding Nemo? This analogy doesn’t even make sense. Second, there are no cues on when we’re going to encounter a conversation i.e., the direction of the story does not lead in that way. Third, while you continue to curse repeatedly in the text (which does not make your novel look any better than a Tom Clancy Novel gone wrong), I want to add that the speech dialogue needs some body language apart from the occasionally senseless ones that you sometimes use (e.g. Sumto giving a ‘filthy’ look at Meran). Overall Grade: C+