To improve my writing and to help other authors, I am reviewing novels by independent authors in addition to novels by popular authors.
I have been reading The Last Death of Tev Chrisini by Jennifer Bresnisk, but, with reluctance, I am setting it aside. I will not rate the story, because I did not finish (DNF) the book.
Let me explain why I did not, could not, finish the story.
Tev Chrisini is a soldier who can’t die, caught in the middle of a war that won’t end. Unable to discover the cause of his unique and puzzling condition, Tev has spent the last five hundred years avoiding the notice of the two rival powers that dominate the bitterly divided political landscape.
After a crushing defeat and an unexpected truce with an age-old enemy, he and his friend Lerien, an intelligence agent with a grim past, are sent on a seemingly simple mission with a delegation of peace.
Their errand takes a turn for the worse when Cerawen, a calculating young woman with her own agenda traveling under their protection, flees their care with the man who murders Lerien’s cousin.
Her defection irreversibly sets them on an increasingly perilous path into strange and unfriendly lands, on a race against dark forces, to find a weapon capable of unparalleled destruction that could bring about the end of the war and unlock the secrets of Tev’s past: the legendary Book of Jh’taith.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? The book has received good reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. If you are into fantasy I encourage you to check out a sample. See what you think.
I hem and hawed about posting anything at all given that I did not finish the story, but given that I plan to review other independent authors, I wanted to establish a baseline for my reviews.
To be fair to Jennifer Bresnick, the books I have not been able to finish number many and some are authored by legends. The books I can remember off the top of my head that I did not finish are Weaveworld by Clive Barker, Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind.
What undid me with The Last Death of Tev Chrisini is the same phenomenon that undid me with the other books. I became too bogged down in the names, places, and politics. Halfway through the book I found I didn’t care about the characters. Tev was brooding. Dark. Mysterious. He had the patience of a man who’s immortal. His personality fit. There was nothing wrong with the supporting cast. I just didn’t care if they died or disappeared.
In addition, there were half a dozen typos in the manuscript that broke the illusion of the world. The manuscript could use a copyedit or professional proofreader, because if I saw half a dozen undoubtedly there are more.
A positive is that the world Jennifer Bresnick created is rich. Detailed. I would put it up there with most fantasy settings.
In the end though I felt that maybe I wasn’t the target audience. Throughout high school I had friends who flew through Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan, but those books could never hook me and reel me in.
You may ask, “Why are you writing a fantasy, then?”
The Worlds Within is not a fantasy story, it’s just set in a fantasy world, but more on that another time.
Like The Sword of Shannara, which people say I just have to get through so I can read The Elf Stones of Shannara, maybe I will come back to The Last Death of Tev Chrisini, but for now the novel will sit on my DNF shelf, but if you are a fan of fantasy I encourage you to check out Jennifer Bresnick’s website, read a sample. See for yourself.
- A Review of Horns by Joe Hill (christopherleedeards.com)