Title: Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide
Author: The Ruinsong Order
Pub. Date: July 29, 2020
Rating: DNF @ 53% (2 for GR purposes)
“Elves, dwarves, humans… Jödmun; you mortal races are all the same, little more than ants crawling on a round table, oblivious to those sitting around it.”
It has been centuries since the Mountain Birth, a magical calamity that turned the Jödmun from men into… something else.
Part curse, part blessing, the Jödmun need neither food nor shelter, living as veritable stone men. One among them, Ürbon the Wanderer, will emerge from his people’s centuries-long isolation.
A chance encounter with an unusually violent elvish people leaves Ürbon without a ship, without his men, and without direction, changing the course of his life forever. In a journey across the vast world of Faladon; from the sandy Savarrah desert to the lush Forgotten Isles, the Human Kingdom of Ravenburg to the bustling port-city of Venova, Ürbon will gather to him unlikely friends and dangerous enemies, each seeking a weakness in his stony flesh. This is his tale.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to ForgeFiction for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I received an ARC of this book, so all my honest opinions are based on what I read in the copy provided to me.
I initially agreed to read and review this book, because I was curious as to how 40+ authors could co-write a book. I figured that it was either going to be an incredible culmination of all their craft experience, or it wasn’t going to work due to the sheer number of inputs.
Unfortunately for me, it was the latter.
I can hardly imagine co-authoring a book with one other person, let alone 39, so kudos.
From the very beginning I wasn’t a fan of the writing. It felt basic, and childish, and not what I was expecting for an epic high fantasy. It didn’t grab my attention and I found myself retaining nothing, and just not getting invested in the story.
I will say that I could sense the feeling they were going for – or at least what I felt like they were going for – Tolkien or Homer. There was this feeling of the ghost of an epic, I just didn’t get invested like I’d hoped to.
Other than the writing style and voice, there were spelling issues (which, I expect in ARCs, so no biggie) as well as incredibly long sentences broken up by 4-5 commas. There were also large passages of narrative that served no purpose to the plot. There was a whole lot of repetitiveness that seemed to serve no purpose other than to pad out word counts. These instances didn’t do the book any favors, and I wondered how many times I was going to have to reread the same information over and over. All of this is relatively easily fixed with some heavy editing, so again, no biggie.
So, let’s talk about the plot.
The MC is on a journey to save his crew, but legit the only thing that furthers the plot along are chance character encounters and action scenes. Unfortunately, the emotional weights were missing from these as well. I just didn’t care, I didn’t believe in the stakes, the dire-ness of the MC’s situation. I wasn’t rooting for or against him. I just didn’t care.
As for the other characters…I felt no connection. Nothing about them made me feel anything. I felt like they lacked depth and complexity. I need characters I can root for, rally behind or root against. I need to feel some kind of connection to them. I didn’t understand the Sentriel, why he was so chaotic and did what he did. Every time it switched to his POV, I didn’t understand why he was the way he was. Was he supposed to be cocky? Because I didn’t get cocky, I just got chaotic, and without a good reason for his actions, he just seemed annoying and lacking purpose.
Now, I did DNF this book. I hate doing that, but I couldn’t bring myself to read through the second half of the novel. I want to like/love every book I read, and I go into them giving them a fair chance and an open mind. But sometimes books just don’t work out.
There are two reasons I ultimately didn’t finish this book. The first being, I struggled through the first 50% and unfortunately felt no connection to the book. The second being an email I received from a person affiliated with this book – I’m not entirely sure if they are one of the co-authors – after they had gone onto my Goodreads page, read comments I’d posted while updating my reading progress of the book.
I cannot stress enough how shocked and a bit uncomfortable this made me feel. On top of commenting about my comments and reminding me that the copy I received was an ARC and was currently being edited, I was politely told to use the map created to go with the book to make my reading progress more enjoyable.
This should be a giant red flag. A big no. A huge turnoff.
Whether or not the email was meant to be invasive, it felt invasive. The comments I made on Goodreads were not my final, official, “I’ve finished the book” review. They were thoughts for me to come back to when it came time to write my review.
To go to my personal Goodreads page, look at my comments, then email me is a giant DO NOT DO THAT TO REVIEWERS.
Doesn’t matter if Goodreads pages are public, that anyone can see the comments I write.
DON’T DO IT.
If you, as an author, want 100% honest feedback, do not try to influence the reviewer, no matter how harmless you may think, and email or DM might be. For me, that’s a sure-fire way straight to DNF.
Too often book reviewers are on the bad end of an agreement and the author gets angry over non-glowing comments. As the author you’re allowed to be angry, but you deal with that shit away from the reviewer. Once we read, review and post that review to whichever retail sites, that agreement, that contract is done (unless otherwise specified).
I don’t like DNFing books, and I hate it when it happens to be a book I agreed to review. Between the way the email made me feel and my general lack of interest in the book, I made a choice. It’s one I stand by.
I think the concept of 40+ co-authors is really interesting and could create some really unique stories. I hope Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide does really well when it releases next week. I hope it finds its intended audience and flourishes. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do anything for me. I really liked the idea of another great epic that felt like The Odyssey and this book maybe has that potential.
If you’re interested and want to form your own opinion (which I always encourage) and give this book a chance, it’s out over on Amazon on July 29, 2020.