Sunday, 29 July 2012

Review: The Hall of the Wood

The Hall of the Wood
The Hall of the Wood by Scott Marlowe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I give this a solid three stars, because while it certainly has serious language issues, I enjoyed the storytelling.

What I mean by language issues is that Scott Marlowe, like all too many writers, has a smaller vocabulary than he thinks he does, and tends to use words incorrectly because he doesn't actually know their meaning and they sound like the word he does mean. He doesn't always spell words correctly, either (he consistently writes "scraping" as "scrapping"), and there were examples of "it's" for "its" and "who's" for "whose". His sentences sometimes have missing words, change number partway through, are grammatically incomplete or (often) have misrelated participles.

All these are issues that a good editor would fix. What's harder to get right is an enjoyable and engaging story, and while Marlowe hardly breaks new ground with this generic secondary-world fantasy, he does tell his story well and avoids the worst cliche of the genre: a Chosen One on a quest to save the world.

The issues the characters bring with them made them a little more rounded, and while the plot is occasionally driven by someone doing something stupid, it's always understandably stupid and not (as is so often the case with books like this) unbelievably stupid.

With a good editor, and preferably a little more originality in the worldbuilding, this could be a writer to watch.

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