James Brittain was born just outside Chicago. He received his Bachelors in English Literature from San Francisco State University, and an Associates in Applied Science in Film Production from the Oklahoma City Community College. His Poetry has appeared in The Homestead Review and the Prism Quarterly, among other publications. He is also an accomplished, if very independent and strange, film maker, his films having been selected for the South Texas Underground Film Festival and the Bare Bones Script to Screen festival.
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A Slave of Evil
by James Brittain
Born a slave, Kara was raised to obey her master's every whim as divine will. But when her master dies in a strange kingdom, she is enthralled by a demon. Compelled to commit horrendous crimes in the name of evil, she is eventually given a task she cannot do, murder an infant. And so confused and uncertain of who she is without a master's will, she must flee into a strange unfriendly world.
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Smashwords book reviews by James Brittain
on April 04, 2015
Read this at my blog: http://books.brittainfilms.com/?p=41
Scale: Amateur (I'm a lot harder on books that have been professionally edited, see why: http://books.brittainfilms.com/?p=37
The Good: This was fun, brisk read. Ome is a fun character and easy to identify with. She’s agoraphobic, and is forced outside her comfort zone after she is transported into a magical realm. Being human gives her power in this land, and she must figure out how to deal with all sorts of odd, distrustful people. Artorius, a wizard with a mysterious background, is another fun character. Living in exile, and thus himself an outsider, he doesn’t take the politics of the land very seriously, and is often quite funny.
The Sleepers, the demons I mentioned before, are pretty cool villains. We meet one, named Wall, close up, and he’s a pretty good character. The interactions between him and Ome are a highlight. The captain of the soldiers in Fore, Brush, is a strong and often likeable woman, although she seems a bit obstinate and shallowly drawn at times. More on that later.
The world has a cool fairy-tale feel to it. The kingdom is divided into two groups, Fore, representing nature and tradition, and Wheel, representing technology and mechanization. The rift between Mer, king of Wheel, and Nim, Queen of Fore, former lovers, has driven the groups apart and into an uneasy quiet riot (as Giles would have said). This rift has opened, whether causally or not I won’t say, a physical rift in the earth, from which demons spawn. I like all this allegorical construction. It has a fun classic fantasy vibe to it, where the ideas trump the realism, and the story deals with its themes overtly. We experience the world through the eyes of Ome, a human who has been transported into this realm.
The demons ripping people’s faces off is fun. I said this before, but the Sleepers, the demons, are really cool.
The Bad: This obviously hasn’t been professionally edited. The writing is at times clunky or garbled. Never too much though, and the book remains a light, easy read. There’s a lack of sophistication in the prose, although this is charming at times. The pacing is not bad, but at times the story drags. I’m thinking particularly of endless conversations between Queen Nim and Brush in the first half of the book.
The character’s motivation often seems shallow to me. The history of Queen Nim and Mer, king of Wheel, comes across as petty in context of the stakes for the kingdoms. I’m not against the set up in and of itself, but I’m not sure it’s been sold here. Nim isn’t sold as being crazy or petty enough, or maybe deep enough, for the motivation to be convincing. Same with Brush. While likeable, she isn’t deeply drawn, and her credibility as the tough, competent captain is threatened by her repeated bad decisions resulting the death of many of her subordinates.
The Verdict: This is a fun and entertaining read. It will be interesting to see how the author develops, if she continues to write. There’s a lot to like here, and most of what I didn’t like will only improve with experience.
- The Mirror
on April 10, 2015
This was a lot of fun to read! You can tell that the author's fist language is not English, and it makes me wish (again) that I could read Russian. Still, the language barrier is never severe enough to prevent understanding. There are a lot of plot twists for how short it is. I find myself wanting more, wishing I knew a little more about the doctors at the end, or about the woman.