Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rich's review of The Blessed Man and the Witch by Kevin Dubrow

Reviewed by -- Rich M.
Book Review of -- The Blessed Man and the Witch by Kevin Dubrow
My overall star rating --- 2

About the book:
How can you possibly prepare for the end of the world? The end of everything? Armageddon is right around the corner, and there’s no guarantee that Heaven’s going to be the victor. Hell is real, it’s clawing at the edges of the Pit, and its demonically possessed servants are right now gathering powerful artifacts as weapons of war. The End Times are coming. Are you ready? 

Hector Shaw isn’t. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he’s been recruited to work for a clandestine security company under strange circumstances. What do they really want him for? Siobhan Dempsey isn’t, either. She’s only just gotten her life together when she finds that she can do magick. Real magick. Why now, and why her?  

Book creation ratings:
Overall total -- 16 out of a possible 30
-- Story & characters -- 1
-- Cover & title -- 7
-- Editing & formatting -- 8
* based on a 1-10 scale with:  1-4, poor; 5-7, good; 8-10, very good.*

The review --
This story is far too overly detailed with brand names and pop culture references in the exposition, so much so that it becomes a distraction rather than informative. I can see doing it once or twice to set the mood and atmosphere of a scene, but it is constant here, to the point where I wonder if the author’s getting kickbacks from real and fictional companies for product placement. Unless that brand of whatever is essential to the story (and that’s the only brand of whatever that could possibly slay the dragon), don’t beat us over the head with the descriptions. The story is very disjointed. While the book is fairly well-written on a technical level, there’s not a lot of cohesiveness to the various vignettes. To me, it read like someone had pulled a Brion Gyson on a bunch of short stories, cutting them up and putting segments together randomly. The characters aren't very sympathetic, and very few even have minor traits that a reader would want to identify with (or at least there weren’t any I could identify with).

That seems to be a new theme with indie literature, at least with the preponderance of the stuff I’ve had the misfortune to read lately:
It is very hard, if not impossible, to care about the characters. I realize that people in real-life are rarely all nice-nice, but you have got to give us something, anything, in order for us to care that a character is growing. If a story is incredibly well-written or plotted, I can often forgive that fault, but you’ve got to have one hell of a good tale in order to make it work. Remember: You can have Hitler saving kittens from a house fire, but that’s certainly not going to make your readers root for Hitler. Likewise if you have a bunch of annoying, overbearing, silver-spoon-in-mouth players - it is going to take a lot of redemption to make any of them likeable. I didn’t see much of that here.        

The story did bring up some interesting contrasts, between the technology- and product-driven pop culture of today (and the near-future) and themes in Scripture and religion, but I think the way that the story was told, at least for me, diluted that dichotomy. This might as well have been Twilight or Hunger Games for all the emotion it brought forth in me on the eschatological level. And I'm a major fan of dystopic, end-of-the-world stories.

One item in the book's favor: A good cover. Simple yet gets in your face. Wish it was on a better story always seems a waste  of a good cover to see it on a mediocre story.        

Reader Recommendations
Genre -- Paranormal? Science fiction? Who knows?        
Age recommendations -- 16+        
Sex content rating -- 16+                
Violence rating -- 16+                                                                                

Links for the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Author's Amazon page

Author's website

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