Kayt's Reviews > Warrior

Warrior by Bryan Davis
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May 07, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, first-reads
Read from April 17 to 29, 2012

If I could give this a negative rating, I would. I wanted to like this book. I won it from Goodreads' FirstReads, and am nothing if not honest so I was determined to give it a fair shot. Nevermind that I gave the first book two stars because It Had Issues, I approached this one with an open mind.

IT DIDN'T WORK.

Every point I made about what was wrong with the first book made a reappearance. Setting (where are we? Would it kill the author to give us a description?), characters (they're all awful. More on that in a minute), and just the writing itself (a prime example of something mentioned in Rapture Ready: there's a tendency to let Christian media/products slide in the quality department). And then there are ever MORE problems. Go down and read all my status updates. That should tell you enough right there, but let me expound because someone has to explain why such a highly-rated book is junk.

First off, noticeable because it's not the first book in the series: little to no backstory is given. We jump in immediately with Jason and Koren and Arxad and Wallace and WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? The book follows, in turn, four different sets of companions doing four different things. That's a lot to remember by itself, but then you add in a complete lack of any reminder. If you had bought/read the books as they came out, you would have had about a year in-between the first and second book--I did, between picking the first up at the library and then winning this one. So while I don't need to know every single thing that happened before, I expect a certain amount of information. Like maybe what the relationship between the two planets/worlds are. Or what the characters are trying to accomplish and why, since that's crucial to the plot of this book.

As before, the writing is just plain bad. People don't feel like characters. Jason and Koren, the main characters, are particularly obnoxious moralizing/pseudo-Christianese spouters. And not only does the language have a heavy-handed, unrealistic cadence to it, the words often don't sound right. Modern phrases/words are mixed in with a very deliberate/contraction-less style and it's jarring. This is a problem with everyone.

Even worse are the dragons, Arxad and Magnar. Virtually every conversation involving either of them--and EVERY conversation between them--is stilted, foreshadowing, on-the-nose, and forced. I just can't take anything involving them seriously from a story standpoint because they're so utterly awful.

The storytelling is so forced. Take Uriel, for example. Jason and Koren have met up with a guy as they travel. Said guy knows that they're not exactly out for a picnic. And then there's a very random, unfitting scene that goes something like this:
Uriel: I noticed you and Jason were traveling as a pair without a chaperone. Are you married or betrothed?
Koren: No. We're doing this thing. Propriety, which doesn't seem to exist here anyway, takes a backseat to saving our freaking lives.
Uriel: Ah. Well, even though it's not relevant to anything at all I also thought you should know that if you're looking for a man, Jason would be a really good one. He is is strong and would take care of you and is a manly manly man.
Koren: Um. Thinking:I totally agree and will cry myself to sleep because it will never be me.

Again, setting stuff up isn't done. Unless you have just read the previous book or have an excellent memory, you might find it hard to remember why the egg/starlighters/extane gas/[insert any freaking part of the story] is important. Scenes with Koren and Taushin-the-evil-or-something-dragon-prince are really, really bad, with the added bonus of making you feel like time is passing, without telling you what's going on.

And then, of course, we have the way-too-obvious Jesus-analogue dragon, Alaph (an anagram of "Alpha"? Wow, so subtle) and all that goes with him. The story is set up to have Jason tested, and of course we readers understand that he's being tested by Jesus/Alaph so the test(s) make perfect sense...

...If you were reading this as some weird devotional-allegory instead of a work of fiction that is supposed to have an actual story. This situation was entirely aggravating, and parts of it showed up multiple times.
C(view spoiler): Jason, you must do this.
Jason: I don't understand.
C(view spoiler): You just have to do this.
Jason: This really makes no sense. Can you explain or give me more information?
C(view spoiler): No, I can't. You're not allowed to know.
Jason: *Does something ridiculously difficult, messes up/fails because nothing is explained*
Alaph: That was a test, and you failed.
Jason: Oh shoot. I'm now very sorry and have learned my lesson. C(view spoiler), did you know this?
C(view spoiler): Yes, but I was not allowed to tell you, Jason. You really should have followed my instructions anyway.

Imagine if you were out shopping, and got a call from a friend asking you to pick up a coat from the dry-cleaners. When you pick it up, you discover it's been accidentally doused in radioactive material and also weighs five hundred pounds. You barely make it to the door when you decide it's not worth it, and the coat is locked in fifteen different boxes and buried a mile underground so it'll be nigh impossible to get to.

When you meet your friend, they tell you that the coat actually cured cancer AND brought kittens back to life AND stopped people from using the express line at the grocery store if they have more than twenty items, AND it was the only one in the world. And they knew it would freak you out and that you'd think you were essentially walking with death and that it'd be almost too heavy, but refused to tell you anyway because they wanted to see how good a friend you are.

Do you see how ridiculous that is?! That is the same logic as this book, people.

I just...I tried, I did, but it's just so bad. How was this published? Where were the editors? This is exactly the sort of book that ensures I don't seek out Christian fiction. Don't waste your money, or your time.
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Reading Progress

04/17/2012 page 10
2.0% "Somehow, I entered myself in a giveaway and won the second book when I hated the first. Will *try* to rate this one on its own merits, but the prospect isn't looking good right now (THE BEGINNING, SO BAD)."
04/25/2012 page 66
15.0% "oh my gosh, the sheer amount of unrealistic dialogue en info-dumping in this book is insane."
04/25/2012 page 135
31.0% ""I noticed you and Jason were traveling as a pair without a chaperone." Never mind that we know they're escaping dragons and Zena and danger and the quest. YOU ARE TRAVELING AS A PAIR WITHOUT A CHAPERONE, ARE YOU MARRIED OR BETROTHED?
ALSO, LET ME TELL YOU TO MARRY HIM FOR NO REASON SINCE I DON'T KNOW YOU OR HIM THAT WELL, BUT YOU SHOULD STILL MARRY HIM BECAUSE HE IS A MANLY MAN'S MANLY MAN."
04/25/2012 page 188
44.0% "This is, without question, one of the WORST books I have ever read in regards to recapping. Because there is NONE. Who are Elyssa and Wallace, again? It's hard to tell what world they come from. I don't want a huge infodump, but since the story is split like 4 ways and there was a year in-between books, it's only natural to need a reminder of who the heck all these people are."
04/25/2012 page 196
45.0% "So, Diviners are basically the deus ex machina characters. Or at least, Elyssa is. Diviner=CAN DO ANYTHING. Gee, that's convenient."
04/25/2012 page 200
46.0% "Arxad and Magnar are two or the most annoying, stupid, useless characters. Every line is so obviously the author foreshadowing the eventual backstory we'll get, but it's so stilted and just plain BAD."
04/25/2012 page 232
54.0% "Wait, was this a timeskip? What happened to everyone else? What is this prophecy, again? And what is all this other stuff being referenced? It's not like I'm LOOKING for reasons to hate this book, but it's so bad it's just too easy."
04/25/2012 page 245
57.0% "It's not as heavy-handed as some, but this book is still a perfect example of why Christian media has the reputation it does."
04/26/2012 page 333
77.0% "Don't think it's escaping my notice--not that it's hard to--that the white dragon/Jesus analogue "Alaph" is an anagram of "Alpha.""
04/26/2012 page 337
78.0% "This is so ham-handed! Sunday School disguised as dragons."
04/27/2012 page 349
81.0% ""I'm testing you but not telling you that I'm testing you or giving you information and I am disappointed that you failed the test that you did not know was relevant, or indeed a test.""
04/27/2012 page 380
88.0% "I officially hate this book."
04/27/2012 page 380
88.0% "Stilted, on-the-nose dialogue. How did this ever get published?"

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