Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Darkslayer (Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang)

The Darkslayer
Craig Halloran and Ernie Chang
Two-Ten Book Press
Fiction, Fantasy
*+ (Terrible/Bad

DESCRIPTION: Through the infinite reaches of eternity, ascended races of immortals seek the Meaning of Life, the ever-elusive Edge of the Universe... and ways to alleviate the crushing boredom of omnipotent powers and endless existence. To this end, the being Tritos created the unique world of Bish. Unlike other worlds, natural laws of evolution and entropy do not apply here. It is a planet of constant chaos, without learning or science, filled with monsters and magic. On Bish, the forces of Good and Evil eternally struggle for the amusement of the onlooking Tritos... and, lest one ever gain an upper hand (and ruin the fun,) an equalizing failsafe always keeps things in balance.
Venir the warrior travels the wilds of Bish, slaughtering evil underlings as the supernaturally powerful Darkslayer. Among civilization, though, his ego and his love of mind-clouding grog land him in no end of trouble - which is how he found himself, hung over and chained, in the dungeons beneath the city of Bone. With his thief friend Melegal, he escapes, but the wealthy Royal princeling he angered prior to his arrest won't let him go that easily. Nor is he Venir's only pursuer: the underlings tire of his predations, as they tire of the irritatingly fast-breeding humans of the surface world. They determine to end the threat of the Darkslayer once and for all. Even by Bish's chaotic standards, things are going to get wild...

REVIEW: This free-for-Kindle edition was billed as a "fun," "hilarious" fantasy.
Put simply: It wasn't.
The inhabitants of Bish are, to a man (or, very rarely, woman), flat, uninteresting entities, too stupid and annoying to even be self-parodying stereotypes. They wander aimlessly through a series of events that, I suppose, constituted a plot, but read more like the results of a Random Plot Generator. Along the way, they trade modern-sounding dialog that must've been hilarious within the author's head, but which came across as forced and stilted. For one particularly lousy example, Melegar earns the illogical nickname "Me." Why "Me" instead of the more natural "Mel?" Apparently, to justify the following (paraphrased) zinger towards the end: "Listen to me!" "Me? is Me here?!?" Ha, ha. This setup, sadly, is one of the few examples of follow-through to be found; the author was evidently too busy chuckling over the dialog to remember such basic writing steps as proofreading (countless misused apostrophes-as-plurals and misused homonyms, not to mention setups to story threads that never happened) and beta-reading. (At least, beta-reading by people who aren't pals, and are willing to point out such minor flaws as his utter failure to generate a micro-iota of reader interest.) This edition also features a number of original illustrations, all of which look strangely distorted and blandly generic. Naturally, there is every hint of a sequel.
This being a free download, it's hard to say that I overpaid, but I did spend my irreplaceable time slogging through this rotten turkey... and rarely have I so desperately wished I could get a refund!

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