3/5 Stars, An Inter-Dimensional Fantasy that didn’t quite work for me
This book is described as an epic fantasy LitRPG and so I had high hopes after my recent experience reading ‘He Who Fights With Monsters’ that it would tick those same boxes. Well, it ticked some but not many for me.
I could not see what was epic about this fantasy. Epic to me means in scope and breadth of characters and story, something I think that is hard to pull off when told from the point of view of a single protagonist. It bugs me actually when authors describe their books as epic fantasy, presumably because the word epic appears on Amazon’s search engine like a keyword. Tsk tsk. It does not impress me. Okay, petty rant out of the way onto the book.
The story starts with a reasonable (fantasy/sci-fi) premise whereby our protagonist, Peabo Smith ex-special forces, signs on to a secret government experimental program to project a consciousness through to a different dimension/multiverse and back again. Of course, it goes horribly wrong and Peabo finds himself in a magical new world, in the body of a Plainswalker, legendary beings that foment great change and are rarely seen in the world. So far so good.
Unfortunately it never really happened for me after that. The characters felt a little two-dimensional. The fight scenes did not grip my imagination and there was little to no jeopardy. The scenes moved along at a great pace, but too much so. I never felt invested in any of the locations or the people that inhabited them. It all just felt a little rushed and convenient and, dare I say it, tropy.
This is the first in a series and yet I didn’t feel any build-up. Peabo kind of kicks butt from the off. The villains, many of whom were ancient and powerful, were underwhelming. There is no lead-up to them, no imagery of who they are or what they can do. They don’t even put up that much of a fight. Almost all of the battles were anti-climactic for me and I never felt Peabo was ever at risk. Then the book ends. Maybe I’ve been spoilt from recent reads, but for an ‘epic’ fantasy this seemed a whirlwind of action then it was over.
It’s not all bad, the story held promise and the writing is reasonable, M A Rothman can write but it seemed like a mass-produced pulp story churned out rather than a deep and considered fantasy. I am pleased I read this on Kindleunlimited rather than pay the ebook price. For the content and what was delivered, I would have been disappointed.
I realise this review may appear harsh but I have tried to be balanced and fair. Maybe it is a compatibility issue and this story just did not suit what I was looking for. Judging by number of reviews and the story’s high average rating many people loved this book, unfortunately I was not one of them.