Ken's Reviews > The Written

The Written by Ben Galley
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's review
Jan 01, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read from January 01 to 06, 2012

The Written is the debut novel from British author Ben Galley. It's a typical fantasy story with the usually expected characters that go with the genre. The book is a little rough in places with some silly typos and grammatical mistakes that should be caught with tighter editing. However it does get progressively better as Galley grows more confident in his writing.

Farden is a member of the Written, a group of elite mages with special words of power tattooed on their backs. He is charged with the investigation into a stolen book of great power that has him travelling across Emaneska. Along the way Farden discovers the true nature of the book and must put an end to the culprit before he uses it to complete a summoning ritual that brings about the destruction of the world.

There are a few things that I didn't like so much. The beginning conversation between Farden and Durnus feels like a scene in an RPG where the mage would ask a simple question and his mentor would proceed to describe in detail what the mission is and what he must do. Maybe the reason for this is because Galley wrote this scene early on and hasn't quite found his voice yet. When compared to the dialogues in the latter parts of the book, you can tell that they flow much better and fit better into the story.

Another thing that bothered me is that in the book Farden is described as a man in his thirties but sometimes his actions and speeches make him appear more like an angry teenager rather than a hardened fighter. I understand that Farden is supposed to be edgy but some of the things he says just don't sit well with me. Even the use of profanity feels out of place to me.

Although The Written is a fairly straight forward story, Galley has given enough of the big picture to keep me interested in the fight for Emaneska's survival. There are also some good action scenes and the idea of tattoos that enhance the different powers of a mage is pretty neat.

In the future books, I would like to see Galley going further with his ideas and moving away from the established materials to create something more unique to his world. At the moment it feels a little too generic and that's a shame because there's so much more story to tell.

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Reading Progress

27.0% "Some of the dialogue reads like an RPG game and there are some junior mistakes in the book like using hear instead of here."

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