There are hazards to reading self-published books. While in theory there's nothing wrong with being confident in your work and putting it out there foThere are hazards to reading self-published books. While in theory there's nothing wrong with being confident in your work and putting it out there for readers to discover, there are major problems that arise from not having an editor. A professional editor. The type who doesn't just copyedit, but also who tells you problems with the story, eliminates redundancies, helps you focus on who and what is most important, etc. Morgan Rice needs an editor.
This is for the entire Sorcerer's Ring series, not just A Quest of Heroes. No specific spoilers though.
There's this kingdom in a fantasy world that is protected by a sword that nobody can lift. There are prophecies of a person who will be able to lift that sword and who will usher in a new era of awesomeness. There's a girl named Gwen (dolyn, but still) and a magical druid who appears and disappears from time to time to give vague predictions and advice. And there's this boy, Thor (can't trick me, I know you mean arThor), who is sure that he's destined for greatness. In news that will surprise no one, Thor can lift the sword and he and Gwen fall madly in love.
I'm all for Camelot reimaginings. This one has promise. Lots of promise. Rice has a great imagination. But again, needs editing.
For example, in this world, you can get anywhere in the kingdom by walking or riding for a day or so. Therefore, the first book (wherein Thor leaves home, joins a training program for the army, meets Gwen and falls forever in love with her, learns to fight, learns to hunt, rescues and befriends a rare tiger, saves a bunch of lives, and grows to love the king and two of his sons as family) takes place in a week. One week. And blammo, Thor is an incredible warrior, a man among men, who considers the king to be a father figure, who has found brothers, and whose entire life is set out. In one week. Timing issues plague the entire series--people hear of an issue, rush off to fix it, arrive within a few hours, and save things.
There are a number of things that almost turn into tropes in Rice's hands. In the fight scenes, of which there are many, I can't even begin to count the number of times somebody has beaten off so many attackers against such long odds but oh, blast, one last one got through and he accepted his death with honor, only to have one of his besties swing a sword or axe or throw a knife at the last second to save him. Worse, many of these "I accept my death, at least I have died while living and fighting for what's right" scenes end a chapter, giving you what is the least cliff-hanger-y cliffhanger in the world. I started talking back to the book each time it happened: "Nope, you don't have to accept death. Someone or something will show up and save you as soon as the action returns to your scene, but nice try!" I also lost count of the number of times somebody was beaten in battle but grabbed some dirt, threw it in his or her attacker's face, and won!
Oh, and everybody falls in love within seconds of seeing their future person. Luckily, it's always reciprocated. Boy: I love you. I need to marry you. Girl: Oh, I knew that too as soon as I saw you! Forever.
There are some more problematic parts as well. The only gay character is a villain, a weak and conniving jerk who sleeps around and kills off his lovers for his own selfish gain. There are some heathens with "rings in their faces" who try to sacrifice babies to primitive gods. The good guys are all light-skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes, while the bad guys are darker. There's some good stuff too, though, girls who fight and kill and save lives. Too bad they're all so busy falling desperately in love at first meeting and trying to get pregnant while moping about how their weddings haven't happened yet.
Basically, Rice needs an editor. Someone who would tell him these issues, help him to work with them. A long traveling sequence isn't exciting, but it's rather unrealistic to see somebody go on a huge big long voyage super far away that takes one night. You tell us there are billions of people living in the badguy territory, but you cross it in no time at all. Where are all these people? Nobody knows. Give things some stakes, kill off some characters, let people get seriously wounded (not just knocked out) and give them some consequences of getting tired--I know they train to fight when tired, but there's still only so much a person can do. There's a lot of promise, a lot of good ideas, a heckuvan imagination. But it desperately needs to be reigned in, given direction, focused, and clarified. Plus, some copyediting wouldn't be so bad either. ...more