Saturday, 25 January 2014

Review: The Sword of Wisimir by Allen Stroud

The Sword of Wisimir
The Wisimir Tales #1
by Allen Stroud
Self-published, 2012
Kindle edition

This is a book that I have very divided opinions on. Generally the idea of it is intriguing but the execution is far from satisfying. I felt truly sorry for the author as I dragged myself through the grammatical disaster that is his novel.

About the Author

I'm a University Lecturer in Film and TV Production at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe, England. I've been teaching writing for nine years, specialising in script and fantasy fiction. In that time I've taught some fantastic aspiring young writers and learned as much from them as they have from me.

I help my sister edit my father's short story collections about 'Ozzy the Pig', which you can also find on Amazon.

'A Bag of Bedtime Tales' is my first venture into e-book publishing. Since publishing this in 2011, I've added two novels, 'The Sword of Wisimir' and 'The Dragon of Wisimir' in 2012.

The Wisimir Tales are the kind of stuff I enjoy writing. There's a dragon, an Evil wizard, a thief, a bag of gold, a magic sword and a whole lot more. If you enjoy reading the books when they're out, let me know and I'll write more. There's a facebook page as well -

Taken from his Goodreads profile

Blurb for The Sword of Wisimir

Opportunistic thief, Jack Von Drey thinks his luck is in when he steals the Governor's taxes from the back of a treasury wagon. But it turns out, this is a game with higher stakes than he bargained for.

City Minister, Urin Braymes makes one bad decision. Unfortunately for him, it opens him up to being blackmailed for the rest of his life.

Magister Leel's scheme to recapture his position of power seems to be right on track. But, when he makes a bargain, he finds he has unleashed magic that even a wizard cannot control.

And Jarno Herren? Well he just wants to find out the truth.

The Sword of Wisimir is a fantasy tale of crime, intrigue, life and death. Where ideals are cheap and, in the end, everyone finds out what they'd sacrifice to survive...
Taken from its Goodreads page

My Review

First off, I feel it is my duty as a reviewer to be brutally honest with you. This book is a perfect example of everything I really hate about this new era of self-publishing. The fact that too many authors seemingly think they do not need (or do not have the means to get) an editor. Which of course they do!

They are sealing their own doom when they do not have the common sense to get their shit looked over and properly corrected before sending it on to reviewers like me. Because all that will happen is that I will waste my time and energy on it, all the while thinking to myself "this piece of drivel is never going to amount to anything remotely worth talking of."

I do not want to be cruel. I do not want to throw idle criticism in the faces of poor hopeful writers. What I do want is for people to understand that just because a book is self-published I will not judge it any differently than I would a book from major publisher. If this book had been a professional publication, I would not even consider checking out the rest of the publisher’s catalogue. It would not have passed through the hands of any reviewer unmolested. They would have thrashed the publisher to pieces.

But back to the book at hand:

The Sword of Wisimir is proof that writing simply does not come easily to everyone. The author has been teaching writing for nine years and still his book happens to be one of the most hopeless cases I have seen since starting my reviewer-career. I must say I am baffled by the fact.

Now, I am not saying that there are not any good things to be found among its pages.

The story is not bad. It is simple, but well-paced. It starts nicely in the middle of the action and suspension builds up through to the end, with complications slowly surfacing along the way. Just the way I like it. It is definitely a very plot-driven story.

The characters could have been more thorough and convincing, though. Character development does not seem to be a particularly weighty part in this book. The majority of characters seem a bit superficial and none of them really sticks with you. It is a shame, because some of them could have been somewhat interesting.

In the end, I have to say this: I do not consider this to be a finished piece of fiction. It is a draft that needs more work. The main elements are in place, but it needs smoothing out. And editing. Lots of editing. It is half-fleshed skeleton that craves more meat.

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