It’s been a while since I had the opportunity to review a First Reads book that I won from Goodreads. In fact this is perhaps my third book since creating my Goodreads account. Be that as it may, let’s get on with my book review of The Straggler’s Mask.
Since this book is an ebook I had no idea how long it was; although I rarely check. The length of a book is hardly a factor as to whether or not I’ll read it (although it might be a factor as to when I read it). Good books that are long rarely feel long, for example the first couple of books in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series (aka Game of Thrones). Unfortunately for this book, there are parts where it feels like it drags on. I’m actually going to skip the synopsis this time, and the reason for that will become clear shortly.
Based on a few Amazon and Goodreads searches I couldn’t find any other book written by this author; therefore I’m going to assume this is their first book. I know it has to be hard to publish your first book not knowing how its going to be received by readers. As much as I don’t like giving mediocre reviews to a debutante author, I did struggle with this book, a lot.
I found it difficult to keep track of all the characters as well as the story. Sometimes I forgot where they are as they traveled. I honestly forgot what their ultimate goal was (until I got to the actual face off with Nirvana). There are times when the point of view of the storyteller would change, without notice and I had no idea who was speaking in the first person. I went through about a 3 week dry spell where I didn’t pick the book up at all because I was bored. However, I still finished it because I refuse to leave a book unfinished, but it felt a little arduous.
Peal is an Interesting Character
I did enjoy the concept of the story (an unsuspecting creature picking up the mantel of a legendary hero). Peal is an interesting character, though his skittishness and small stature don’t really correlate to what I expect a bugbear to look like or behave. Granted that’s based on an old D&D reference point. The world the author created felt pretty imaginative and thought out. However I don’t know if I would have used Earth; otherwise you are setting the readers up to identify familiar areas of the planet which they’re not going to find.
I guess I’m more disappointed that I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I feel like this book could have been broken up into two novels. If you’re an aspiring new author, perhaps a 600+ page book with a complicated list of characters isn’t the way to start. This, by no means, deters me from reading more by this author, unless the next novel is equally as disappointing. Honestly, I may go back eventually and try to read it again to see if a second time will more easily capture my attention.
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– Dr. Seuss