Monday, August 20, 2012

Eye of the Sword - Day 1

Time was, time is, and time will be.
Thus starts the tale of the Wisdom Tree
and two brothers who rivals forever shall be.
- Dio's song, Eye of the Sword

Ever go to a movie, not expecting anything in particular but daring the movie makers to impress you?

That's how I approached Eye of the Sword, the second book in Karyn Henley's Angelaeon Circle. Hey, it's a fantasy series about angels. I'm as apt to read that as I am to read a book about pixies. Impress me.

And that's what Henley did.

I was immediately involved in the excellent writing, engaging characters, and intriguing story. Despite not having read the first book (Breath of Angel), I was never lost. Necessary information was given to the reader as needed, and I never felt cheated that I reached the series late. A few chapters in, I never even missed the first book. Events from it are referenced so that they lend a sense of history -- even deep history -- behind the events of the current book.

I'm an editor, though, so I rarely read purely for pleasure, even when that's my goal. One of the best ways for me to gauge a novel is how painless it is to read. During Eye of the Sword, my internal editor conked out, lulled to sleep by writing free of the usual speed bumps: awkward phrasing, trippy words, illogical character actions, and bland, boring, or laughably bad dialogue. Although no particular passage stands out to me as memorable for its style, the writing is smooth, and there are scenes and images that stick in my mind.

A note about style or voice: Neither of those elements should overwhelm the story. Style or voice should never become the star of the novel, but should serve the story. Therefore, when I say that no particular passage stands out due to style, that's not a bad thing. I'd rather have substance than pretty, pretty lights.

More about Eye of the Sword in the next couple of days; meantime, check out these other stops along the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour:

Julie Bihn Thomas Fletcher Booher Beckie Burnham Jackie Castle Brenda Castro Jeff Chapman Christine Theresa Dunlap Cynthia Dyer Victor Gentile Ryan Heart Janeen Ippolito Jason Joyner Carol Keen Emileigh Latham Rebekah Loper Shannon McDermott Karen McSpadden Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Anna Mittower Mirriam Neal Nissa Faye Oygard Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Kathleen Smith Donna Swanson Jessica Thomas Steve Trower Shane Werlinger Phyllis Wheeler


Shane Werlinger said...

Interesting peek into the mind of an editor. I don't have that trouble. :)

Heart2Heart said...

You did an amazing job at writing this review! I LOVE it!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Meagan @ Blooming with Books said...

I'm not an editor but poor writing and typos really bug me when I'm reading. It must be much worse when that is your job!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Keanan, my reaction was almost identical to yours. I want to go back and figure out how Karyn Henley gave us such an action packed story with a dense history and never made me feel lost, even though I was coming into the second third of the story.

I look forward to whatever else you have to say about this one. Your editor perspective is beneficial.


Julie Bihn said...

Great writeup. I didn't notice any problems with the style either...when a story and/or characters are engaging, even a critical reader may not notice the flaws. (It says something very good about Henley that I had some fairly serious problems with the story but still found it an engaging read.)

Jeff Chapman said...

Sounds like we had the same reaction. I agree style and voice shouldn't overwhelm the story. I just wish there had been a few wow moments with some great turns of phrase. Other series writers could take lessons from Henley on how to integrate story from a previous book into a new one.