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Alissa

Alissa

Song of the Fairy Queen

Song of the Fairy Queen - Valerie Douglas I'm a frequent reader of indie authors, and I'm not bothered by lack of polish when a book engrosses me, makes me feel, or generally abides by a few basic linchpins: decent plot, decent writing, decent characters, or at least one of the three.
Here I found none.
The story circles around and around, and it's dull, sappy, predictable, repetitive and the book is too long for its few working elements. There are abrupt changes of pace and timeline which throw off the reader, a few incongruities, a lot of plot-stretching/convenient outcomes, not a shadow of world-building and, did I mention it, a cartload of repetitions (descriptions, situations, thoughts...)?
Also, nothing never actually happens in the story, there's no real danger, no lasting change, no plot twist, no climax: just a far-fetched attempt at an epic finale and, as already stated, a couple of changes of pace and timeline, more confusing than kindling.

To make it worse the book is in need of serious editing, not mainly about typos or an Elissa who becomes Elisa, but because of both the redundancy of information -yes, we get it! No need to give the same piece of info thrice in a few paragraphs, and really, I GET IT Kyri sports beautiful hair, Morgan a broad strong chest, Gawain his mother's eyes- and the dull writing: sentences like "Morgan stripped off his shirt, his eyes on hers..[same ebook page]..Then he pulled off his shirt..." and "Where they could, both Fairy and men would do what they could to aid the wounded, if they could" really could do with a bit of editing.
Seriously, you cannot simply throw in the adjective "glorious" (or adverb "gloriously") at least 18 times during the love scenes (ah, add to the tally a sprinkle of noun "glory", and one verb "glorying" as well). But even a veneer of professional editing cannot make up for lack of substance, of literary flair and inspiration.

My quotes are basically all from sex scenes, because unfortunately it seems the whole 504-page-book-that-could-be-effortlessly-halved is centered about sex sequences and the story devised to give some backdrop for them, not the other way around; the intent is painfully clear. Mind I say sex sequences, and not love story. Romance or erotic romance stories ask for development, involvement, dangers, misunderstandings, context, whatever, you cannot simply introduce two characters, make them fall hard for each other at first sight and keep at that for a whole book! No momentum, no tension, you can see it coming exactly the way it comes from page one! Then, do I want sex in my fantasy novels? Sure, but I want it to be primarily fitting, dosed and at least entertaining, or tasteful, or appealing to my sordid instincts, or whatever it takes to deliver quality and not gratuitous scenes. Here it's just plain boring and redundant, if you want a smut book with fantasy elements, look elsewhere.

The characters have no development, not even a wee pinch, nothing: marvelously one dimensional. You don't really care for them, and that would be just a precondition! The protagonists are beautiful/strong/lucky/awe-inspiring/etc., the sidekicks are just sidekicks, then there's the faithful, the betrayer, the sacrificial lamb, the seasoned warrior, the selfless companion...you get it, the full array of boring, nondescript and forgettable characters, coming and going to serve their purpose. And the villains? Evil queen and evil king-usurper? Meddling with dark magic? Ok, fine, but there's really nothing else beneath, no drama, no light vs dark as part of clever sub-plots, or at worst resulting in a gambit pileup seasoned with mysteries and layers of deceptions. Or, truly, everything but profound and total nothingness!
In all this, I save the character of the omniscient Fairy Queen, but for another book.

I'm really sorry to say this ended up in my first one-star rating ever, because from the summary there was some potential in the story. After the first 40 pages or so, I still gave the book the benefit of the doubt, the writing style was flat (at best), the editing flaws growing and there were no hints of character development or surprises in-the-making, but still...it could have been a decent fantasy tale, if not original (and, no, the preposterous Arthur's cycle name-game is hard to miss), at least readable. Nothing of the sort.
I read it through, with some skimming, because I'm a believer of last-minute redemption. Which makes me an optimist bound to be sorely disappointed.