Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Birth of Death by Joseph Macolino

By Shawn

Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal, is disturbed when he discovers that the culprit behind a recent string of kidnappings presents the greatest threat the world of Evorath has ever seen.  As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding a great secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the crown.  Meanwhile, Irontail, a young centaur warrior, endeavors to find his way in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged.

When their paths cross, the entire forest must unite, performing an ancient ritual to combat this new evil.  While the world of Evorath deals with this great threat, Artimus and his companions must put their internal conflicts to rest as they work together to combat this harbinger of death.  As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer.  But, will they be strong enough to survive?  (taken from the back of the book)

First, I want to say that it's obvious that Macolino poured his heart and soul into this baby.  This is his first book and it's pretty good for a first book.  Though I have to tear it apart a little, it's more due to the inexperience fact than it is anything missing in Macolino's approach or passion.

This book is what I like to call Swiss Cheese Fiction.  I know several of my author friends hate that term, and with good reason.  Basically, it's been done.  Though there's a fabulous idea behind the book, a great plot, if you will, the characters and world creation are something right out of a role playing game.  This isn't a bad thing, if that's what you like.  Given the great idea and the possibilities there were to work with here, it would have been great to see a little more creativity on the part of the characters, species, and surrounding elements.

Relationships between the characters are stilted and the characters don't really seem to have much life.  Though they're interesting enough, they're definitely two dimensional.  We get glimpses into their thoughts and we get to learn who they are a bit through actions, but so much more could have been done here.  I think Macolino would benefit a lot by taking his characters through personality profiles to get to know them a little more intimately.  The interactions between characters is a little difficult for me.  I'm so sick of hearing how pretty Savannah is and how perfect her body is.  Honestly, it only made me despise Artimus, who I'm supposed to adore.  He's supposed to be my hero and instead I find this idiot who thinks with his nether regions.  I get it, this book is geared more towards men.  I have no problem with that.  The problem I have is that any man would be so smitten with such a flat and obviously empty person.  I have to give men, as a whole, more credit than that.  I feel like most of their 'relationship' was tossed in there as simply a way to pull more people in, when in fact it was the largest turn off of the book for me.

Action, adventure and fight scenes are quite well done.  This is a definite building point in future stories.  Macolino has banter and argumentative dialogue down pat.

Though this wasn't the masterpiece I was hoping for, it's actually pretty decent for what it is.  If you look at it as a role playing adventure without a lot of depth, you could really enjoy yourself.  All of that being said, I think Macolino has real promise as a writer.  He has a great writing style and story telling style that could really go places with a few adjustments.  Though I wasn't in love with his first attempt, I look forward to seeing him grow as an author and I'm excited to see the progress he'll make.

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