Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Review: The Mask And The Master

The Mask And The Master
The Mask And The Master by Ben Rovik

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the first volume of this series in the Podiobooks version, so I noticed some extra things this time around - namely, of course, the editing.

Now, I've seen much worse editing than this, but then I've seen some extremely bad editing. Here, there are missing spaces, there are missing words, there are partly-revised sentences with doubled-up words. It's refreshingly free of homonym errors, though, unless you count "pistole". (I thought this might be a quaint variant spelling, since the author seems to like unusual names and words, but then I looked it up. A pistole is a coin. The firearm should be spelled "pistol".)

I'm also not convinced the author knows what a dynamo is (it's not a motor - in fact, it's more or less the opposite of a motor), and I'm certain he doesn't know what "strafe" means (it doesn't mean to point your gun without firing it).

Those problems aside, this is very well done indeed. The author does a beautiful job of setting up a perfect misunderstanding between two groups of well-intentioned people who inevitably end up fighting. The tension and action is well-paced and the characters are distinct from each other and relatable. And there's a nice mystery set up at the end to keep us looking for the next volume, which I am looking forward very much to buying.

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Ben Rovik said...


Thanks for picking up the book and taking the time to review!

I'm glad you enjoyed the storytelling here, and that you're psyched for the next installment! There are two shorts in the Mechanized Wizardry world coming out in the next few weeks, and Book Three will materialize in 2013. More titles to Podiobooks too, as time allows.

I'm chagrined that there were enough editorial errors to take you out of the story. That's unacceptable; I never want to be one of 'those' indie authors. Fixing the messes you identified just took top priority for me.

I'm grateful to have you as a reader, and I'm looking forward to reading City of Masks soon! (My wife and I have a new kid at home, so my leisure time is a little curtailed at present.)


Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Thanks, Ben, for your good writing, for taking the criticisms so positively, and for your kind words about City of Masks. I should note that the errors I spotted were one or two a chapter, which is far less than I've seen in several traditionally-published books ([cough]HarperCollins[cough]).

Ben Rovik said...

Ha! Yeah, even the big guys rush sometimes.

I found that doing the Podiobook for The Wizard That Wasn't helped me catch about a dozen formatting typos (the type you saw) that I, my editor, and my beta readers had all missed. Going through and reading each sentence aloud is such a methodical process that errors have nowhere to hide.

Your series about the Gryphon clerks sounds intriguing, by the way. What's the latest-- thinking about self-publishing?

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Yes, that's where I'm leaning at the moment. I can afford to pay a cover designer and a development editor, and I don't know that there's a big marketing advantage in a small publisher (not comparable to the percentage they take, anyway). Plus the whole Ridan Publishing saga has kind of put me off.

I've got beta comments coming in now, and some time over Christmas to do a bit of a rewrite, so look for it in early 2013.