I received an absolutely gorgeous four star review on Amazon yesterday from fellow author Nik Morton
Reviews in general have come in for a pretty rough time of it recently, what with people paying to get masses of 5-stars, ganging up to leave horrible reviews as hate-campaigns and even bullying and bribing others to leave reviews. So I was thrilled with this one on several levels:
1 Nik is writer whose work I admire, so his opinion counts for me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and tastes so authors have to face the fact that sometimes their work just will not be a reader’s cup of tea and they’ll dislike it. That’s life.
2 Nik took the time to seek out quotations from the book to back up his comments. That is rare, takes time and is very much appreciated. It also shows he cared enough about the work to give it a thorough evaluation.
3 He criticises but in a helpful and constructive manner. He says what he didn’t like about the book and I value that too. It’s a question I swithered about when writing but was persuaded by a lot of friends that a “happy ending” was required. I’m chuffed to have an alternative viewpoint. He will be pleased to know that the prequel has anything but!
With all the recent furore, all reviews are regarded with suspicion. Too many 5* ones and there is a sneaky idea that perhaps the author is dabbling in the muddy waters of bribery, corruption or extortion. Too many very bad ones make me feel someone is out to get the author.
There is also the question of “why should I care what you think?” As a reader I will look at the background of those leaving reviews (especially bad ones) and wonder if they share my tastes. I have also been known to do a little detective work and found out that the superlatives all come from people on the writer’s friends list on FB. (I know, sneaky ole bat, aren’t I?)
So here it is, my lovely review that is not 100% gushing but is totally honest and I value honesty more than most things in this funny little world.
R. Nicholson-morton “Nik Morton” (Alicante, Spain) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Shaman’s Drum (Paperback)
This is a good fantasy tale of relationships set in the near future when our organised religions were banned, eventually replaced by paganism and magic. Civilisation is still as we know it, complete with Internet and mobile phones, cars and taxis, but without the angst of religious guilt or conflict. Needless to say, without conflict there is no story. And of course even in a supposedly ideal world there is still crime, jealousy, and a lust for power. Cleverly, how this state of affairs came about is not revealed in detail – save that there was a War of Religion, and most people are now non-committed; we’ll get to know more in the prequel. We begin this book with all of the above a given.
The author was a pagan and elevated to High Priestess in a coven before leaving to follow a solo course as a shaman. She is a healer and practices Reiki in her village in France.
Brother Iamo and Shaman Riga have a history, again to be detailed in the prequel; however, this doesn’t detract from the story. In effect, we’re into the tale running, without any great exposition on their past involvement. This works, due to the charisma of Iamo and Riga – the narrative is first person, from the intermittent point of view of each.
It’s as if opposites attract. They’re from different sects – Riga is a captain of the Black Shamanic Guild, an assassin, while Iamo is a priest of the Mother Goddess of Light. And such attraction displeases the hierarchy. However, the pair proved themselves very capable when they previously went up against the common enemy, demons.
The new conflict – demons destroy both mentally and physically, `eating the soul piece by piece’. Worse, they seem to be up against the Demon Prince, men-hating Dianics and men-only Gythi as well. Not good, even if they can deploy magic. One problem with magic, it screws up electrical energy, so they can’t resort to phones or other equipment.
At the age of seven, Riga was sent away to live in the Guild, already marked down as an assassin. Iamo had a simpler childhood, going to boarding school. The interaction between these two anchors the book. They’re intriguing characters, and sometimes playful, sometimes sexy, and even humorous. There are plenty of good images and phrases. `I stared him straight in the black eyes that could start fires faster than flint.’
Riga can go into a trance to seek aid. `I cast back into history and asked the spirits of my ancestors to help me: all the fierce Shamanic people who set the blood and bone in me, all the hunters and farmers, the soldiers and their women. I willed them to inspire my thoughts and strengthen my arm.’ Dramatic prose like that is sometimes leavened with humour, such as `It took us a good ten minutes and another cup of tea to strengthen our resolve.’ I loved that, so mundane and real! Another – `I was very mature and philosophical about it; I sulked.’
The showdown with the Demon Prince contains fireworks aplenty, with good description. Still, I felt that what followed was anticlimactic; true, worthwhile, to tie the knot in more ways than one, but to my mind over-indulgent. A satisfying read and I’m already curious about the prequel!