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Have you ever wondered how to create an immersive and believable fantasy world?

Author Shad Brooks gives us an in-depth look at his approach to the floating continents that populate Everfall.
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Publisher's Summary

Who better to fight back the darkness of the world than the one responsible for most of it?

Daylen, once known as the Great Bastard, the Scourge of Nations, Dayless the Conqueror, has lived in hiding since his presumed death. Burdened by age and tremendous guilt, he thinks his life is coming to an end. Unbeknownst to him he’s about to embark on a journey towards redemption where his ruthless abilities might save the world. Many battles await with friends to be made and a past filled with countless crimes to confront, all the while trying to keep his true identity a secret.

Indeed, it might be too much if not for the fabled power awaiting him.

Everfall is a world of perpetual day where the continents float in an endless sky. If one jumps from the continent they will fall for many hours before returning to the same place from which they fell. Skyships rule the air powered by shining sunstone and industrial darkstone. A legendary order of knights bears mystical powers which they use to hunt out the dreaded shade, monsters that regular people turn into if trapped in darkness for the length of a fall.

It is a world of enchanted swords, merciless monsters, mystical knights, and hard magic, filled with tales of wonder and adventure.

©2019 Shad Brooks (P)2019 Shad Brooks

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Shad get a better Editor

I'm writing this on my phone so sorry in advance. I'm a fan of Shad's YouTube channel. I've read Brandon Sanderson's books and Robert Jordan's. There is so much influence in these and it really shows. The premise is very interesting but I honestly think if you want to make a world builder book with this much detail you need to spread it out. As others have pointed out there are big information dumps that don't seem to fit where they are placed. I would rather have the story show me how the world works like Sanderson or Jordan. The main character is very hard to self identify with because he talks about how much he regrets killing people and how his greatest punishment for his crime is living with the guilt. Then he goes and kills a bunch of criminals. The darker themes of the book (sex, rape, murder, and genocide) seem to be delivered awkwardly. The action scenes are done very well and are enjoyable.The narrators absolutely blow me away everytime I listen to them and they do an amazing job like always. Shad, I haven't read any of your other stuff so I'm not sure how this compares but this seems like a great attempt. I enjoyed the ride and was able to finish the book and have listened to much worse books. I did enjoy the book but I think it could use much more polish. I look forward to listening to anything you might write in the future. To anyone looking to purchase the book go ahead and support the author. It was a fun book and would enjoy reading more about the world.

82 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to love it...

This is likely to be an unpopular opinion.

I am a HUGE fan of the author's YouTube channel. He does some super in-depth analysis of various medieval and fantasy ideas and medias and I love 98% of what he does.

But this book has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Honestly, I would have rated it lower but I reserve 1-star ratings for books that don't have anything that I like or enjoy. And this book has a little going for it, just not nearly enough to counterbalance the poor elements.

Okay, when I saw this audiobook was narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading I was really excited to dig in. Those two are a fantastic narration team and have never let me down.

Indeed, the narration is excellent. Kate and Michael both have some awesome voices and incredible control of tempo and vocal inflections.

But the story.

Okay, let me begin with a few praises.

Although in need of a good polish, the prose is smooth and skillful. The characters have a reasonable amount of depth. And the depth of the world building is incredible.

Which is part of the problem.

I don't mean incredible in the sense of being really good, but actually incredible. I can't believe how much of it is actually in the book.

Honestly, there are a LOT of asides that feel like rules entries in a D&D campaign/setting book. It's almost as if this whole story in just from sidebars in such a campaign book.

There's just way more detail about the world and its mechanics than necessary, while a couple of very specific issues that strain my suspension of disbelief are never addressed.

However, there are three prose issues that need to be mentioned.

The frequent (and it is, oh, so frequent!) use of the word "literally" really diminishes the power of the prose and makes it feel amateurish.

While some of the dialogue is good and feels natural, other bits are so clunky and feel so forced I can hardly believe the narrators didn't balk at actually saying the lines.

And the sheer amount of "telling" (rather than showing) in this book was really frustrating, particularly with "action" sequences. The book would have been so much more exciting if so much of the action hadn't been summarized upon its completion. From an author who is a sword enthusiast and a skilled swordsman himself, I was really expecting a lot more detail devoted to the fight scenes.

Now, I have 2 very large issues that almost made me drop the book and get a refund on numerous occasions.

1, rampant (and awkward) sexuality and rape.

There are multiple characters completely defined by their sexual assault, and I'm sorry, but showing a recent rape victim who literally throws herself at every young male available as a "coping mechanism" is so far beyond ridiculous, I don't even have the words to express it.

For an author who claims Mormon values and sensibilities, I can't help wondering if he doesn't include this purely because he somehow got the misguided idea that readers want it.

Here's the thing, books like A Game of Thrones can get away with it because it feels authentic to the world and the situations feel real. Not because fantasy readers particularly want to see it.

Reading those parts in this book felt like listening to a nine-year-old talk about sex. It was super awkward and did not remotely resemble how real people talk about sex.

2, the main character. There are so many issues here, but let me condense the list to a few key points.

The biggest problem is he's a bastard. After being with him for 18 hours I can honestly say there's not one thing about him that I like. Largely because every positive thing presented just rings false.

Other characters describe him as mature, intelligent, and wise beyond his (apparent) years. But what we see in him is the complete opposite. His pride would make Sauron cringe, he's as frivolous and childish as my nine-year-old daughter, and the sheer number of idiotic decisions he makes is mind blowing.

And there's this contradiction. The author goes to great lengths to show us his guilt. He spends pages and pages bemoaning it and at one point the main character spends days locked in his cabin weeping over it.

But at the end of the day, he's still a bastard who raped young girls and killed millions. And he proves himself to still be a selfish, violent man prone to overreacting and dispensing vigilante justice. In some cases with no evidence of guilt.

While in most roleplaying games it's perfectly acceptable to take someone at their word and kill their attacker, in a supposedly deep and complex novel, I expect more realism than that.

Especially when it's from an author who has established himself as a person with a huge amount of attention to detail who spends a lot of time criticizing films and games for very minor lapses in realism.

And yes, the fact that the main character is a master at basically everything he does as well as having more powerful magic than anyone else is a huge problem. Whether there's an explanation or not is irrelevant. How good he is at everything competely destroys any tension that might otherwise have existed.

I feel like leaving out the sex (or writing it with realism and sensitivity) and making the Light Bringer (whose name I won't try to spell) the main character would have solved all of the novel's plot and character problems.

I actually really liked the Bringer as a character. He has a complicated past that isn't fully revealed until shortly before the end. He has a strong sense of honor and justice. And I love that his sense of humor is so out there! He makes a lot of really bad jokes, especially in the beginning, and it's a source of banter with other characters, which I appreciate.

Finally, let's talk about a few of the world elements that I have issues with.

First, the endless universe. Was any thought put into this? As far as I can tell, the entire "universe" exists within around a thousand miles of height, and reaching the "bottom" then drops one from the "top." But there is a sun beyond that somehow.

The whole thing smacks of nonsense to me, and no attempt at an explanation is made, yet almost everything else in the world is explained to the umpteenth degree.

I'm really struggling with the magic system. First and foremost is the fact that light is the source of magic. Maybe it's just me, but that seems absurd to me. And then we spend so much time getting so bogged down in the rules of the magic, and defining everything, and having the main character "discover" things that are supposed to be impossible, that by the time the actual story starts I don't even care how the magic works anymore.

Also, I have a serious issue with the magic that might be considered a spoiler so read the rest of this paragraph at your own risk. At one point near the end of the book the main character "channels light" (invests magic) into amplifying his skill with a sword. Everything magic has done previously has been manipulating physical characteristics or natural forces (such as wind or gravity). Yet somehow he's able to channel light into his "skill." Again, for an author so gung-ho about realism and things making sense, this is extremely disappointing.

Also, the fact that everything else about the magic is so scientific just rubs me the wrong way. Magic should be mystical. Magic should be variable. Magic should not be 100% explained with every rule and mechanic on the table in the first 100 pages. Yes, it's capabilities and limitations should make sense, but it doesn't need that strong a grounding in scientific realism.

I find the sheer amount of technology and tech-speak in the book distracting and irritating. I don't pick up a high/epic fantasy novel to read about technology. I don't want to read about engineering. I don't want to hear about cellular levels, guns, modern political issues, and scientific advances. I want swords and armor and magic and medieval political problems.

My last issue comes down to predictability. For a book that people keep comparing to Brandon Sanderson, I was really expecting a mystery that I couldn't figure out until we came to it and enough complexity to keep me thinking and revising my opinions and ideas of what was really going on.

Unfortunately, there is none of that here. The plot is very linear, very straightforward, and very predictable. Nothing surprised me.

Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this book, there's is very little that I enjoyed here and I really can't think of any type of reader that I would recommend this book to.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent World, Shallow Characters

This book is fantastic in its world building. The magic system is phenomenal, as someone who has an engineering background and an interest in particle physics and quantum mechanics I found the magic system engrossing. The attention to detail and the technical aspects were interesting and I appreciated that the author did not dumb down the engineering aspects of the world. I am highly appreciative that the protagonist is an engineer and brought that direct perspective to understanding the world he lives in. The world has great potential and even the background story would be a fascinating book in and of itself.
I do however feel that the characters' backgrounds are rather shallow and I never felt what I believe the author wanted me to feel about the protagonist. The graphic and violent aspects of the story were not emotionally powerful and felt contrived. The fight scenes and the usage of the magic system was excellent, but the motivations of the characters were very muddled. The author tries too hard to tie up lose ends to the determent of the overall story. The conclusion left me wanting to pick up the characters and put them back in the middle of the book where the plot and story were stronger and more entertaining. The end was extremely contrived and did not feel natural, but more like the author saying, "I'm running out of ink, better wrap it up." The creatures of the world and the original driving force of the protagonist was a much more interesting narrative and I was more drawn to the protagonist's past than the story's present.
Overall, as an exercise in world building 9/10, character development 5/10, emotional depth 2/10.

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable book with a problematic protagonist

On the whole I liked this book, though there are certain aspects that didn't quite work for me. The world building is in depth and interesting. There were a few times I found the exposition laying out the magic system and the world to be a bit heavy handed and dragged the book down a bit. That said I generally enjoyed the bits where the protagonist explored his powers.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the supporting characters. Lyra and Kuseg (not sure on the name spelling as this is an audio book to me) were particularly interesting and I enjoyed Arek's terrible humor immensely.

The main issue with the book for me is the protagonist, Daylen. I get that he's supposed to be a former bad guy trying to be good, but I can't help but feel that Shad, the author, went a little too far in making him a monster in his former life and didn't do quite enough leg work to justify him as the protagonist through most the book. The simple fact is that Daylen commits too many brutal and barbaric acts in his new life for me to ever truly root for him. It doesn't matter that he feels bad about them or that he did them to terrible people. It just feels like there's a disconnect, if he is a despicable person who has seen the error of his ways and is seeking redemption, then he shouldn't be so quick to deal death to others. The first time it happened I understood as he is reverting to his old ways, but each time it happens after that it is harder and harder to empathize

All that said, I found there to be some legitimately touching moments between him and the supporting characters toward the end and found his over all fate and conclusion to the novel to be satisfying.

I would definitely like to see more from this world now that so much of it has been explained and the story can just get moving. I also have hope that I may like Daylen more in another installment.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Better as an audiobook

Michael Kramer and Kate Reading do a wonderful job narrating this book. Despite a few rookie flaws (excessive dialogue attributions, too much info dumping, etc.), I would rank this book up there with Brandon's Mistborn series. If you're a fan of Mistborn or Brandon Sanderson in general, then you'll love the Chronicles of Everfall by Shad Brooks. I anticipate this series to be a slow burn, but I have no doubt it'll hit the best-seller list in due time. Shad does an amazing job with his world-building and thinking about how certain magic systems interact with the world in a way that I haven't seen other authors do before. It's obvious that Shad did his research, and he did it well.

Some people complain about the main protagonist being a Gary Stue, and under normal circumstances I'd have to agree. While I do think having a talking head would have been a better route in terms of Dayless knowing everything, the main thing keeping him from being a Gary Stue is his character flaws. His flaws are enough to offset the amount of power he's been given, and you'll often times see that they lead him to great misfortune. I think it's disingenuous when people say things like "I never felt like the main character was ever in any real danger," when the fact is that you can say that about any book, regardless of their Mary Sue status or the lack thereof. It's expected by the end of the book that the main character will generally be alive, or some part of their existence will persist through a good chunk of the story, otherwise there wouldn't be a story in the first place.

That said, there's a couple major flaws with the story. For one, it feels like the main character is just doing random stuff for a good portion of the book. For another good portion of the book, time is spent lecturing to the audience about how the world or magic systems work. It's quite a bit of overkill. I didn't feel like the book started going anywhere significant until about the 2/3rds mark.

I also felt like character's reactions to things were unbelievable, especially when it came to the main character's cold-hearted slaughter of random people. I'm sorry but, some of those incidents you wouldn't just shrug off and say, "Yeah, you're right. You were justified."

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

You can judge a audio book by it's narrators.

I had to check if this was someone writing under a pseudonym, Best new fantasy series of 2019 Imo. This will soon be a bestseller, it really is that good. I'm horrible at writing reviews but I am sure there will be hundreds to come.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great first book

This tale of redemption has great world building and a fleshed out magic system. The story is good but after hearing the main character dump on himself continuously it starts to get a bi et old. There are also a lot of he said, she said, and characters says in this book so that gets old after listening after a while. The voice work is really jarring though when characters are voiced by the other reader after having been voiced by the other.

I would have thought the cast would have been divided in half since there were 2 readers here, but no. Whenever it is a male perspective Michael reads and when a female perspective then Kate reads. This leads to wildly different voices for a character.

Overall the book is a good listen and I recommend it but be prepared for some drag.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I NEED MORE!

the feels the friendships, and the world omg the light concept love it all and I want more

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good premise, but poorly written

While the idea behind the story is sound, the book could do with a good editor.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good first book

I’m a fan of Shad, love his youtube vids but I’m going to look at this book with a critical eye still.

I enjoyed the story a lot. The interactions and dialogue between the characters were amazing. Easily the best part of the book was the humor and how everyone talked to each other. I just couldn’t get enough of it. Masterfully done, I couldn’t get enough of it.

I found the world to be interesting and I do want to see more it be explored to a greater depth. I hope for more books in this world as I have many questions about the lore and world.

Now first I want to say, I think Daylen’s personality was pretty good, however as a character he is pretty over powered with his abilities and in some parts of the book makes him almost a Gary Stue in places, or like Superman when he just suddenly gets a new power right at the correct time. I just didn’t feel like he was in any real danger at time. He also seemed to have pretty much invented everything in the world. Like literally everything, he pretty much knew how everything worked even though he was hermit for over two decades. There should have been some inventions or progress that left him at least a little dumbfounded or a challenge to his knowledge. Not to mention he seemed to be the best at well everything that mattered in the book. Cooking and gardening were never critical to the plot. He just doesn’t have any real flaws besides being a real bad guy in his past. Overall it’s like Daylen created the world instead of him being a product of the world he is in. In my opinion that made the plot weaker as the only real obstacle he has is his past in this case.

While I’m a fan of quick and brief fight scenes, I think having a little more detail of what they’re doing would be of a better benefit or more use of metaphors to describe the struggle than just block, parry, counter strike, etc. The big climatic duel at the end of the book was well done however in my opinion. I also believe the characters could use more description but that’s more or less my own bias as I’m used to novels graphically describing gore, nudity and such in higher detail.

I really enjoyed this book and I think Shad put in his best effort and I really want to see more. I rated the story 3 stars mostly because of what I stated about Daylen, even though I really enjoyed his personality, especially old grumpy Daylen.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-04-19

MEH

The idea is interesting, the world as well ( maybe a little too technical for my taste) but...
The farther the story the more and more problems are obvious, up to the point where I had to force myself to hear it to the end.
My first issue i have is:
There is no tension. Not at all. Not event once I thought the main character was in any danger, or that he won't achive what he wants.

My second issue is with some characters and their actions ( be aware of spoilers!):
The main guy very often acts childlish, not at all as a mature person ( IT wouldn't be a big problem, if not the fact that other characters view him as such). It's a minor thing but only one of many. The other would be that he seems overpowered and too Perfect in any possibile way...
The light guy - the one that accompanied our main character. After discovering dylan's true identity he decides to forgive him, let's say it somewhat fits his character. But i really doubt he would stay friendly towards him. Let's be honest here:The guy harmed milions of inocent people (murdered/raped etc.), including your own family! If you are a great person, you might in the end forgive the monster. IT would be very difficult to do so esspecialy taking under consideration your personal losses, but IT is possible. But I have difficulty believing you will become a friend with such a monster... I think, that even with forgivness, you would still persuit the justice.

The knight girl, the one the main guy raped ... In my mind, no matter what the rapiest does afterwards - he can save the whole Galaxy if he wants - he is still a monster, there would be no redeeming qualieties for him. Not in her eyes ( her jump after him to save him from spashing on the ground seemed unbeliveble to me.) She wouldn't do it. Not with trauma he costed her...

The other knight, the one that was her partner, was iritating and his jokes didn't land for me. His whole character was cringy and not in a good way.

The ending itself is unsatisfying, childlish and predictible.
The court starts serious but soon IT changes into a farse, when after countless examples of his evilness, one guy steps in and asks to make him a hero...
Imagine: People who lost their loved onese, their friends and neighbourse, had their hopes rised once hearing the one responsible for their lost was caught and will finally be brought to justice. ( Plenty of those People will travel days long distance to witness IT, so they can finally have peace... But nope, that's not the case.

The sentence seemed forced, especially once you hear how many people he wronged... "But no, he is doing good now, so I guess we will punish him by joining the Elite club"( of which members are respected worldwide)...
Poor, poor way of resolving this plot. And a pity, since IT was one of the most interesting things about this book.

The funny (not really) thing is, that this girl knight, I've mentioned earlier is the one that in the end is truly punished: can you imagine to be in her situation. Not only her rapiest escaped the justice, but now she Has to look at him on daily bases.


12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • AudiobookDevotee
  • 07-23-19

A thrilling story from an inexperienced author.

This book takes a little while to get going, make sure you give it at least 2 hours for it to really hit its stride. The protagonist's angst will quickly get tiresome but is rarely dwelt on. I get what the author was trying to do but the endless references to rape and past evil acts really drag after a while.

The story lacks a main antagonist to drive the plot and I think suffers for it. This may have been done as the author intends the book to be first of a series but nonetheless the lack of significant challenge and lack of a consistent villain for our hero to come up against makes the story seem somewhat like a prelude rather than a stand alone novel.

Bearing that in mind, I think it is a bit presumptuous to call a book, Book 1 of the X Series at first publication. You never saw "Harry Potter and Sorceror's Stone (Book 1 of the Harry Potter Series)" or "Fifty Shades of Grey (Book 1 of the 50 Shades Series)". The book could stand alone but you go into it with a feeling that it isn't meant to.

This fic's main problem is the dialogue. It sometimes comes across as clunky and unnatural although that could be the audio delivery. There are also quite a few comments/jokes about characters being gay that are immature and mildly homophobic (although that might be intentional in a fantasy setting).

Although they are the power couple of the fantasy audiobook world, I'm not a fan of Reading and Kramer as narrators. Her voice is quite jarring and his quite soporific. The chapters from the female lead's perspective were by far the minority. I'm not sure a second narrator was necessary especially as each character's voice sounded oddly different depending on the narrator.

The worldbuilding is great. The fantasy world constructed is unlike any other I have ever seen or read. It is completely original and we are introduced to the different aspects fairly easily. I have seen many reviews complaining about an excess of exposition but that wasn't something I noticed. This may be because I had the audio sped up to deal with Kramer but I wasn't aware of excess exposition at all.

Once you get caught up in the action it can be really enthralling as well. The mechanics of the realm are straightforward and the fights make sense (although deus-ex happens a bit). The main characters seem to logically follow the consequences of their actions (except for Deylan) but the excitement is consistent throughout.

Most of the characters are human enough and fairly likeable. The main characters are developed a bit throughout the story and seem to become less abrasive to each other with the passage of time. Deylan/Deyless's character makes the least sense going from wimp accepting guilt for things he didn't do to violent maniac impaling people to death. That was all a bit odd. The lightbringer's story and character actually became the most interesting for me which is odd with him being somewhat tertiary among the main characters.

Having said all of that there are two sorts of fics for me. The ones where I see the clock and say "Argh, I've only managed to get through 3 hours." or where I say "Wow, time flies. I can't believe that 3 hours whizzed by so quickly." This story is definitely one of the latter. Once you get caught up in it the story flies by quickly and it is quite compelling.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard B
  • 07-19-19

Fantastic world building and coulorfull characters

Shad has proven himself to be a master world builder with his first published book! Even in such a fantastical world, shad has thought out every detail in a way that keeps it realistic and grounded. The various cultures and religions of the world make sense within the context of the setting and as a fan of his YouTube channel its awesome to see him put his "laws against medieval realism" to good use and show how realism, even in a fantasy world can make a setting far more believable. That same believability also applies to the characters. For example a character with new found magical powers acts in very much the same way I imagine many would.



I've given the story "4 stars" even though my enjoyment of the book so far I would rate at 5. This is because by giving 5 stars I feel like it would have to be on as good as other books I conider 5 stars such as LOTR or or Got. So why don't I think its as good as those? Well I'd like to give some constructive criticism here but it's something I can't really describe. It's something about the actual writing that just feels a little more sort of clumsy, not quite as perfect. It's not badly written or anything though and still incredibly enjoyable.

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Conor
  • 08-14-19

Needs a lot of work

This debut novel smacks of childish writing and poor editing. It rambles where it should flow and the character concept, while a good foundation, is wasted with bad writing and repeated pointless description. We are placed into a fantastical universe where description of it is crammed into internal monologues and, worse, little soliloquy that the character "just happens to do", as if he's talking to an imaginary audience. It is an extremely jarring read and should have been at least another two years in editing before it was published. I had high hopes for this story but sorry to say the execution was appalling. I like Shad, I'm a fan of his videos and he's incredibly knowledgeable. But this book was not ready and if he writes again, I would strongly recommend a co-author or a different editor.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • michael
  • 04-16-21

Genuinly awful (cult of celebrity drives score)

I don't even know where to start. This book seemingly fails from start to end. The tone is wildly inconsistent. The world building is overly specific in areas, but with huge gaps in others. It's also told in massive exposition dumps.
Main character is extremely unlikable and a huge Mary-sue. This is enough to make me dislike a character, however the character seemingly lacks any actual convictions and actually seems to lack qualities the book suggests he has. What I mean by this is that the book suggests that he is a great tactical leader, but has him do extremely tactically stupid things. As for his convictions, he seemingly acts like the author needs him to. Oh, you need a psycho baddie backstory? No problem. He's a total psycho creep for no reason. Oh, you need a remorseful antihero? No problem. He's that for no reason. No motivation are explored that explains his actions. If he were meant to be one dimensional, then fine, but he's "supposedly" a deep character.
Connected to, but not limited to the MC are misunderstandings/oversimplified thinking with regards to mental behaviors. Shad seems to think that becoming a pedophile is simply the result of a character's moral arrow moving to far into the immoral spectrum. Almost as if his MC never had a pedophilic thought until he became EVIL dun dun dun. It's really stupid. Likewise, his female MC's PTSD seems very forced and obvious. It's just how Guts reacts basically, but somehow less subtle. It's also kind of uncomfortable that he uses the characters PTSD as a source of comedy, but that's another matter.
The messaging/themes in this book make no sense. People suggested that forgiveness was the theme, but the thing is. The only character really shown any forgiveness is the MC. It seems like a pretty lousy theme if it can only be applied to a singular character. A character by the way who brutally murders people who are objectively no worse than him, this leads me onto.
All bad guys are rapists. I swear Shad watched a Cinema Sins video and was the only person inspired to do exactly what the Narrator (can't remember his name) constantly groaned about. Virtually every villainous character is a rapist, an attempted rapist or someone tied to rape. Besides a perhaps a couple of ignorant stereotypes that were written "really well" and some heretics. I think all of them might actually have been rapists.

Honestly, I think I could go on until the cows go home. In short, the book was bad. It was likely the worst book that I have ever read. Maybe I have just only read higher caliber stuff, but I doubt it. If you haven't read it, just go in knowing that the cult of celebrity is very real and most readers probably like the guy too much to say that his book wasn't very good.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-23-21

A poorly paced mess of telling and explaining.

Ok, spoiler free first.
The premise seemed and started really interesting with a quite different main character. But the story was told through tells, inner monologues that explained why/how/when for the audience rather than showing. The "worldbuilding" was so jammed down the throats in an unnatural and overwhelming way and took time from things that would have made the story interesting. This caused the book to have a poor pacing, forced plotlines and an ending that was so laughable and cringeinducingly predictable. The Magic system is somewhat loose beacuse it gets used as a deus ex machina constantly and would seemingly do whatever the main character wanted (more of that in spoilers).

I did enjoy the brief stories recounting Deyless life and the actions that lead to his exile and for having the balls to make a proper bastard out of the main characters with some taboo subjects.

Spoiler and more detailed review ahead.

Okay, the first time the book really started to lose me was when Deylen got rejuvunated and instead of it still being a, somewhat, highstakes situation he started to monologue and be overly calm about his predicament. When the whale from Hitchhickers guide to the galaxy starts falling through the sky and starts monologuing about the nature of life its played for laughs and the whale doesnt figure things out instantly unlike Deylan(Deylen?). That is a constant theme throughout this book. Everything has to stop so the author can explain how something works in excruciating and unnecessary detail and that comes at the expense of the story and plot.

There was too much of: "That was beacuse of...", "That is why..." and "That is how...". For exampel telling the mathematical equation of skyships to a character that was most certainly created just to tell the audience of how the author "solved" skyships working. A constant answering of questions the audience have not asked and in a unnatural tell rather than show and natural way.

There is also a disconnect between the supposed "brillance" of the maincharacter and the way he acts. Being proudful and brash might have been fitting but here he comes across as childish and really dumb in alot of situations. So when the character says im a master something you just roll your eyes beacuse of course he is. Master swordman, sure I can buy that but then he just starts becoming a master at everything so I was suprised that he wasnt a master cook when first meeting Aeric, hes probably a master knitter also.

The dialougue goes in circles sometimes but I will give you that atleast they talk, a little bit, to eachother in a somewhat real way. Not every line ended in a quip and forced levity that some other authors do. But the characters interact so little and the real interesting part of Lyra and Deylen was rushed and delegated to the last 4 hours of the book. How interesting the story would have been if they interacted more and the friendship beetween all the characters became deeper and then showing them who Deylen really were. But apparantly this was'nt interesting for the author, telling people of how and why people wore swords in an umbrella. The "friendship" between Aeric and Deylen dont feel real, cause Deylen is just an asshole constantly towards him and him being all "But Deylen knew he was right" doesnt make the relationship belivable.

And now the magic. This is not a hard magic system, its really, really soft. It felt like the way the author started was "Lets apply gamestats and attributes to this world". Alot of the lightbinding is being channeled into stats like strength, speed and mass(?). And this is okay at first, it feels somewhat loose but not overly silly as the author goes through immense pains to explain how powerjumping works for example. But this started to lose me when he channeled into some abstract concepts like fortitude and stamina. Okay, fine, whatever lets move on... wait nobody has EVER thought about lightbinding to their intellect? NOOOOONE has ever thought about that? But even this didnt lose me, cause with some mental gymnastics I could think "Well yeah it does impact the synapses of the brain so he might be able to calculate abit more so whatever". But the last straw that broke the camels back was when he channeled into "his swordskill". What? What do you even lightbind to there? That implies that you could lightbind into anything, no matter how abstract. "I cant paint at all but if I lightbind into my PAINTINGSKILL I would be able to create a masterpiece. And so Deylen did." Talk about killing any kind of tension the story might have had. This makes the magic being used as a crutch and is a constant deus ex machina which the main character more or less instantlt grasps.

Well I've rambled enough. In closing I would like to say that Im actually a viewer of Shad and I enjoy his content but I wont blow smoke and pretend that this is a good book. Get a proper editor and not a yes-sayer and maybe I would listen to the next book.

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  • Tristan Littlewood
  • 07-17-19

Blacking Good!

Honestly one of the best books I've ever read! The exploration of right and wrong, the psychology and development of the characters, and an intrinsic but simple plotline, I found it hard to stop listening! Worth your twelve years Shad! Now when is the next one? XD

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  • RyanR
  • 07-16-19

In the vein of Brandon Sanderson

This was an excellent, well thought out, well explored, & engaging book in all aspects. Character relations, Worldbuilding, magic systems, and an amazing final act where all these aspects culminated in a way similar to Brandon Sanderson’s finales. If you like Sanderson I think you’ll enjoy this too.
I greatly look forward to
The narrators are talented & perform as well as in the Wheel of Time and Stormlight Archive.

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  • M. Collins
  • 07-25-19

I love shad but there was plenty work needing done

There were times where I was entirely wrapped up in the story but they weren't as numerous as the times I were thinking "what was the editor doing at this section)" there was so much explaining that I think our common sense was being questioned .

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  • Mr Stewart
  • 05-24-20

Fantastical Read

The protagonist turns antagonist turns protagonist again approach is such a breath of fresh air. The nuanced approach to the main character is great, especially concerning the fact that good does not outweigh the bad and vice versa. Everyone has evil within them.

The Conqueror couldn’t be any more vile... yet more human at the same time.

Chemistry between characters are top notch.

The themes of redemption, forgiveness as well as the dangers of absolute power and how revolutions and good intentions can go wrong are very nice.

The power system is quite interesting, just a tad bit too much physics and maths for my liking hahaha.

And need I even mention the worldbuilding? I need to know more about this fantastical world, the Great Redemption Arc for The Great Bastard continues forward!

But what about the dragons??

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-19

Loved it

Great work Shad👌 Not perfect but still a good read. Hope to see more from this series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-20

Good but flawed

I loved the world but everything to do with sex feels like it was written by a horny teenager. This takes me out of the story when the near 100 year old ex-despotic rapist emperor is described with the words "He's had sex, lots of sex".

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  • Huw
  • 07-28-19

a great story with good historical knowledge

shad has done a great job. Great story, fun characters and an interesting world. Can't wait for more

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-27-19

Sky World Fantasy

Dayless the bastard, flying islands, shadow creatures, ten star narators, complex characters and anime fighting.

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  • Hayden Carson
  • 09-10-19

Not bad, not amazing

Not a bad book, but I don't think I'll re-read.
First off I'm a fan of Shad's YouTube channel but as is evident by my review score I don't believe the man to be infallible.

First off the universe - I love it, it has history and depth, a well defined (if slightly derivative, but every book is derived to some degree) magic system. I'd love to hear more about how the bastard was breaking the system and why. The technology was original and well founded in the universe based on the magic system. Overall I think the universe was awesome and I'd love to see it adapted it into a tabletop rpg where I feel it'd find a good home.

Next the characters - I feel like the character I liked the most wasn't the main character, but rather the light bringer. He showed more depth than the main character, despite the main character being obviously far more intelligent. That's the thing, the main character seemed flat, and when it was attempted to show depth, that fell flat. He wasn't the only one to have this problem but it was the most obvious. I think the main reason for this was that in his inner monologue (which was sometimes quite a speech) he pretty much always knew what he was doing and why and went about things very analytically. I understand that that's how his mind works, but the reader doesn't need every step of the thought process, just the key points and the result. The way it's presented is textbook. Literally. I think Shad would do well writing a textbook. The same goes for the lengthy explanations, especially when the mechanic is repeated in detail more than once.

I guess that actually brings me to the writing. As I just touched on, I'm not the biggest fan of it. I can see where Shad was pulling from for inspiration, and I can see how his mind works, but rarely during the course of the book did I feel so immersed that I got lost in the world and drifted from the knowledge that I was reading (that's the best way I can think of describing it, readers will know what I mean). There were a few gems in there, parts that took me away, but they were cut short by the way something was described, or said which took me out of that element.

Overall I love the universe and story for the most part, and I would find a sequel interesting and would give it a go. This book isn't a Sanderson or Jordan, but I don't think either of them did it in their first few attempts either. Looking forward to more Shad.

MACHICOLATIONS

Side note, I don't think I remember that word being used once in the book... Huh

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-19

Great Book

I loved the technical detail this went into when describing the mechanics of the world. and the mechanics of the stones and powers were very interesting and well thought out.

Can't wait for the next one!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-29-19

A brilliant debut novel

Shad M Brooks combines the epic storylines of George R R Martin with the humour of Douglas Adams, this novel had me both amused and enthralled from Chapter 1.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-26-19

A bloody brilliant book!! I hope more is to come!

Absolutely one of the best fantasy books, great setting, brilliant attention to detail on weapons and their uses all around top tier book looking forward to more! keep em coming!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-26-19

Well written and acted

The only issue I have with this is that the wain character feels overpowered, I'm interested to see how he is challenged as the series progresses.
I very much appreciated the concepts for the world and how much detail the book went into about them.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-19

Enjoyable

Some issues are definitely present, though I consider many review criticisms here to be petty or biased against the basic premise. The plot of a hyper competent prodigy turned despot, defeated then exiled and coming to regret a fantastical reign of tyranny is the story. People saying "He was too bad to continue reading" obviously stopped before the end section. Saying he's a gary stue imo also misses the premise. He is overpowered, that was the idea even before he had magic. What happens if a tyrannical prodigy gets a second chance and the power to influence the world on a similar scale to when he ruled an all conquering empire, as one man? The book is asking where the limit of redemption is and to what degree would recompense be required that even heinous acts might be forgiven to a change of heart, if at all.

As to whether the author succeeds? I'm not sure, I'd say mostly with some misses. The book is enjoyable, especially if you're more interested in exploring a premise of moral consequences, than reading about an average joe in fantastic circumstances who struggles against a villain and wins. He's overpowered... that's part of the premise, not the point.

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