Monday, August 22, 2016

Book: "Keeper of the Eye" by Mark Shane

The third of my latest batch of "BART books", I just finished "Keeper of the Eye" by Mark Shane.

I'm starting to question Amazon's recommendation system and the sorts of people who leave five-star reviews.

"Keeper of the Eye" appears to be the freshman novel of Mark Shane, based on a quick Google search.

It tells the story of Michael, a handsome carpenter who is secretly a super-powerful magic user, instinctively-brilliant swordsman, and heir to the throne of some land with a forgettable name and of Falon, a beautiful (of course) super-efficient assassin who can drain a magic user of his or her power and/or life.

And there's a wizard named Max and a bunch of other utterly-forgettable side characters.

There's also a LORD OF DARKNESS trapped behind some magical barrier, evil warlocks who want to free said evil being, and gloating villains.

Oh, and there's a magic sword. Because fantasy.

I'm being snarky, of course. Many fantasy novels have some or all of these tropes. It's fine. Fantasy is escapist. Nothing wrong with having the tropes.

Done well.

So that brings me to "Keeper of the Eye". Imagine if you took "Once and Future King", "Wizard's First Rule", a bit of "Blood Song", and a sampling of pretty much every other fantasy novel you can imagine, then put them all together in a blender. Then you overdid it on the trite dialog and tropes.

There you have it.

"Keeper of the Eye" isn't really bad. It's an okay read. Fun in parts, with its overly-competent hero who is humble and self-doubting to the point of being ridiculous.

Then it starts to steer into really bad. Falon, the heroine, appears early on and is attached to the obligatory quest. Then she essentially merits the odd mention for about a third of the book, mainly screaming or glaring. The next thing you know, Michael and Falon are suddenly, jarringly, inexplicably from sniping at each other to in love.

Again, you read and see these tropes a lot, but normally they're done a bit better. This was just painful.

From there... yeah. I have to admit I was disappointed in this book. It was an okay read interspersed with just ridiculously-awful tropes and cliches.

I have time slated later to use whiskey to kill some brain cells.

Next up is either "The Waking Fire" by Anthony Ryan (as I try to see if he redeems himself after the awful sequels to "Blood Song") and then switching to sci-fi for a bit.

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