The first review was from Ro Walker (“The Tiger’s Eye — Interesting, Uneven, Retro Feel 3.5 Stars”), and is a long one that I think deserves some response. It goes as follows:
Treasure quest. This feels like the early Dungeons & Dragons computer games being narrated into a book. The magic system where the mage always has to study the spell scrolls is explained well enough that for the first time I sort of believe it. After all, although I can knot, knit and weave, I still need to consult a written pattern most of the time. Another retro device is the clean slate amnesia plotline as seen in The Bourne Identity and many computer games. The uneven part is the choice of details included or not included and peripheral characters that seem like they should be significant but are poorly developed or left hanging. Why mention a cobbler in the early chapters, again in the middle and we never meet him? Maybe in book #2. Why are there tall poles in the middle of caravan campsites, and with all the other questions our lead mage keep on asking why not that one. I really don’t need to see our guy skinning a capybara or opossum critter, or deciding to take a piss. Early Simon R. Green and R. A. Salvatore and Tracy Weis & Hickman do this a bit better. Nevertheless, the plotline is interesting enough that I will try a second helping. What I mean by the retro video game feel is that there is a questing party with a mage, a thief/rogue, an elven ranger type who is three people or one person in 3 bodies, a basic fighter and healers and temples and weird sects and dwarves that drink a lot. If those books and games appeal to you, you may like this. I did enjoy it, uneven though it was, because few people are writing this genre now.
I’m not surprised by the reference to Dungeons & Dragons, but it wasn’t the computer game that influenced the story; it was the AD&D role-playing game (books and dice). I was playing the game back in the late 80s, early 90s when I wrote the first draft, but the revision transformed the story into something quite different from that draft (which was only about 16,000 words, most of which I discarded). However, Dungeons & Dragons was partly inspired by fantasy fiction (Wikipedia has an article
on this), and I was very much inspired by that as well, especially J. R. R. Tolkein’s Hobbit
and Lord of the Rings
Trilogy, David Eddings’ Belgariad
series and the early Dragonlance Chronicles
by Weis & Hickman. Interestingly, I haven’t played the video games (other than arcade one that had nothing to do with role playing), so I don’t have any reference for that.
My sister told me she thought it was cool that I was using macrame as the foundation for casting spells. Of course, I don’t know anything about macrame, so I found her comment amusing. 🙂
The animal I had in mind is something like a muskrat, and the description is based upon how I used to skin them when I worked for a fur-buyer in the 80s. Fortunately, I won’t have to do that again; it was a rather desensitizing experience. I wasn’t sure if I should include it or not, but hopefully the reason I did will become clearer at the end of Book 2 or the beginning of Book 3.
The second review was only a 2-Star one 😦 from LivelnHoth (“Promising enough, didn’t quite get there”):
Premise was interesting, overall well written but the characterization was weak. I just couldn’t get to a place where I was pulling for the guy or even interested in what happens next. I think another reviewer hit the nail on the head when he said it reminded him of a role playing game.
This is a nice contrast with the other reviews I’ve had, and shows how a book can be read quite differently by different people. It would be surprising if it didn’t disappoint some readers, but I hope overall most readers will find it to be as entertaining and enjoyable as the majority of the reviewers have so far.