Elke's Reviews > Shadow Crown

Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin
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did not like it
Read 4 times. Last read November 2017 to November 2, 2017.

Dreadful. Absolutely dreadful. For all the reasons mentioned by other readers on this platform. I am flabbergasted at the low quality of this book. I've watched quite a few of Kristen's "writing advice" videos (which, to be honest, at this stage are reminiscent of a home shopping channel with all the advertising and mediocre content) and it's blatantly obvious that she herself does not understand what she is preaching (at least as far as writing fiction is concerned).

Frankly, it's quite audacious to offer a first chapter critique service at 65 USD a pop and then throw a book onto the market whose only merit is that it provides you with plenty of reasons to finally have that afternoon of first doing your ironing and then visiting the dentist to have root canal.

I will not mince my words: the woman can't write. End of story (I refuse to put it into nicer terms). She's neither sufficiently talented to create a story that will hold the reader's attention nor does has she have a grasp of the English written language (couple of examples below). She also does not seem to care about providing quality. This book can't have been edited by a professional. Not in a million years."

Example number 1:
"I try not to shuffle back and forth between my feet." (page 1).
When I read this one, I felt compelled to consult my books on Human Biology, just in case there are any extremities between my feet with which I can shuffle, and which, hitherto, I've failed to notice.

Example number 2:
"I loose the breath, I've been holding."
Really? Loose, as in loose woman? Rather embarrassing, wouldn't you agree?
And you loose the breath, you've been holding, not the other one, the one that's off in the kitchen cooking dinner?

Example 3 (a metaphorical gem):
"silent shouts of victory ring in his ears". Back to consulting my Human Biology books again. Would now be a good time to talk to you about the Cochlea?

And so it continues. I'll be honest, I didn't read the book to the end. I'd borrowed it via Kindle Unlimited and sent it back on its merry way at the 23% mark. Life's too short.

One thing I did learn: it really is all about the "hustle" and the "pitch", isn't it? This lady did an excellent job "selling" herself on Youtube, problem is: readers are not dumb. It's the product that counts, in the end. This lady is not an international bestselling author and she's not a good writer.

My advice to Miss Martin: don't give up your day job. Stick to what you know i.e. "hustling" (in "the corporate world").
My advice to Youtube watchers: enjoy the vids just like you would watching the Kardashians, but don't waste your money on her books/writing advice.
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Reading Progress

November, 2017 – Started Reading
November 2, 2017 – Shelved
November 2, 2017 – Finished Reading
November 24, 2017 – Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
November 24, 2017 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
November 24, 2017 –
page 0
0.0% (Paperback Edition)
November 24, 2017 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
November 25, 2017 – Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
November 25, 2017 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
December 23, 2017 – Started Reading (Paperback Edition)
December 23, 2017 – Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan This is brutal but and I love it 😂 I've been following her YouTube channel for a while and find it very helpful, but I was never sure whether or not to read one of her books. I'm glad you actually gave examples in this because that decided for me I'm just gonna stick to the vids. I think her issue is that she writes these books in a few months and that just isn't enough time to make a good novel.


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura I think it may have been "loose" as in "loose an arrow" but still a jarring description all the same. I was more concerned with the comma that came in the middle of that sentence. Pretty sure it doesn't need to be there.


PaperTigerMaddy I loooooove ranty reviews and this made me giggle :D it actually makes me want to try it myself, to see if it's as bad as you said! BUT I'm pretty sure that use of loose is correct if unusual *questions everything I know about weird*


message 4: by Elke (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke PaperTigerMaddy wrote: "I loooooove ranty reviews and this made me giggle :D it actually makes me want to try it myself, to see if it's as bad as you said! BUT I'm pretty sure that use of loose is correct if unusual *ques..."

Re. loose, I refer to the Oxford dictionary:
loose (adjective) = not fixed tightly. Since Kristen's sentence structure demanded a verb, this can't be correct.

the verb would be "to loosen" (as in I loosen my tongue)

see also here: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/def...

Of course, she could have meant "to lose", which also wouldn't make sense. She probably meant to say "I released my breath".


message 5: by Arun Prakash (new)

Arun Prakash K Out of curiosity, I read the preview in Amazon and the review is spot on. A cocky teenager who can philosophize her killings, a King who has an apprentice, a kingdom that has to rely on assassins to bring thieves and murderers to justice, not to mention the writing...

Bad books have been out there throughout the history of publishing. However, in the age of digital publishing, the floodgates have been opened to all aspiring authors and it has become a chore to wade through all the produce to find something worthwhile (and affordable). Writers such as these only emphasize the strength and professionalism of traditional publishing. I felt really bad when I read that Senlin Ascends, a truly excellent self-published novel sold only 250 copies in its first three years and that comes from an author who takes two years to write a novel. A large chunk of these aspiring authors are not ready to use the digital publishing platform in a responsible manner.


message 6: by Elke (last edited Jan 17, 2018 01:25PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke I couldn't agree with you more, Arun. What I'd like to add is that Youtube and the target audience (young adults/teenagers) play a large part in this 'success?' story. (As you may have guessed, I'm somewhat outside the target audience, I stumbled across her channel as a reader new to the booktube phenomenon. All I wanted was a good read). Some authors use young adults to sell them their "image" and a "dream". "Hey, look at my large house, the things that I can buy, all the trips that I can afford to go on". Add to this an occasional video of showing yourself in floods of tears because of one drama or another, and you have yourself the perfect daytime soap opera, colourful enough to entice a whole lot of young people who are ready to believe what they see on Youtube, and who also want their piece of cake. Youtube is there for anyone, who wants their 15 minutes of fame. In reality, however, aspiring authors have very little idea just how much/how little you earn as a mid-list author (both as a traditionally published author and as a selfpublisher). They actually believe that you can make a full-time living out of this. Such success stories are very, very rare (around 2 % in Germany, at the most). If you look at Ms Martin's ranking on Amazon (for all of her books), you can see that her fiction ranking is nowhere near high enough to guarantee a regular 5 figure income (and that's the US; in the UK and Germany, she's at the bottom of the list). Phrases such as "I am an international best-selling author" are somewhat misleading. She's not in the overall top 100, and even in the Amazon subcategories she has a low ranking. If you write a halfway decent story, do your marketing prior to publication, offer appropriate discount schemes on publishing/Kindle Unlimited, you will get into the subcategory bestseller ranking for a couple of days; but you don't stay there for any length of time, unless you generate output that will keep attracting readers. This is what happened to her books. So it is a little bit of a misleading statement to say "I am an international bestselling author", to put it politely. I assume the majority of her income originates from her side businesses (of which she has several). That's all fine. But why not say that explicitly. This story leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 2000 USD for a self-study course on how to be an author? I question the sanity of anyone willing to buy into that. She may well be qualified to impart her experience on how to hustle and generate interest, but she's definitely not qualified to teach others how to write. She's not a good writer, and the help she claims to be able to give can be had for FREE all across the world. Internet. Evening classes etc.. I will continue to watch this phenomenon with great interest....


message 7: by Arun Prakash (new)

Arun Prakash K Heh. I hate criticizing people: people have different capacities and given time, they improve. However, when people see something only as a means to an end and display conscious disregard of professional ethics - well, that's a problem. I'm an IT consultant and as part of a team, I implement enterprise sales/marketing solutions for large customers. When I was in Singapore several years ago, a fellow contacted me - he had gotten my email address from a developer forum. We spoke casually for one or two days and on the third day, he had the audacity to send me a remote logon link to his client's network and ask me to implement something for his client. I was angry, and I refused. Part of the reason was that what code was already there was so horrendous, that I wanted no part in it. You know what hurts? These clients often come to the conclusion it is the fault of the product. I can't blame them. It is for more or less the same reason that I have avoided subscribing to Kindle unlimited.


message 8: by Pea (new) - rated it 1 star

Pea I want to add, because I think this is often missed by people (including critics of Martin): she only hit the top 25 in her niche sub-sub-category after she put her works on extreme discount (99c for the entire trilogy, I believe). People were quick to purchase because, "Eh, what's 33 cents? Even if it's terrible, that's not a bad deal."

I'm actually appalled at the way she blatantly and knowingly markets herself in this field. She's positioned to take advantage of her teen audience by building a very misleading narrative of "success." I actually wouldn't take issue with her hosting a $2,000 "self-study" course if she didn't push it with a near lie.

Her next move is to monetize "AuthorTube" and take advantage of newcomers to that world. Guaranteed.


message 9: by Elke (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke Pea wrote: "I want to add, because I think this is often missed by people (including critics of Martin): she only hit the top 25 in her niche sub-sub-category after she put her works on extreme discount (99c f..." like your term 'misleading narrative'. Absolutely accurate description. My prediction, however, is that her latest endeavour will flop. Big time. People aren't that stupid. I have faith in human intelligence (and the fact that teenagers need their parents' permission to sign up for this).


message 10: by Pea (new) - rated it 1 star

Pea Eve wrote: "@Pea

How did you know KM put her entire trilogy on sale for 99 cents? And how long was it on sale for? This should be made public knowledge, especially as it directly impacts the people signing up..."


I've been following her for several years and was around the day she hit top 25. She had the series on sale for about a week total, I think, but only hit top 25 for one day.

I went ahead and dug around to find the promo -- it was $6 for the whole trilogy, 99c for Alpha Drive (which is the one that hit top 25, I think, whereas the rest haven't made it that far in the US): https://youtu.be/iZZhCkjwtb4 in August of 2017. This was the same week she hit "best seller." She doesn't mention that at all in any of her discussion about hitting that goal.

This is also the event that propelled her into way more reach. She lingered around 10-15k YouTube subscribers for 2ish years and after coming out as a "best seller" she's been able to slap the label on everything, gain about 10k followers in only 5 months, and give herself credibility in a way that appeals to a lot of people.

But between her highest sales coming during a half-off promotion and her books being available on KU and my personal knowledge (I work in the industry and am friends with several authors who actually do this, full time, for a living), there's absolutely no way she's earned enough money to claim she's a "career author."

After years of dutifully following her, it's become really obvious to me that she stretches the truth in most aspects of what she shares with us online. It's very calculated. And the truth is that I don't actually care -- marketing yourself in a particular image is very smart to do if you want to be an influencer -- but this "self-study" course she's created for $2,000 is a bridge too far even for lil-ol-ambivalent me. Anyone who doesn't do their research here is going to be duped into thinking the things she shares in that course are a true guide and you really can't trust any of her industry knowledge. At all.


message 11: by Elke (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke That's just bad. I don't subscribe to any of her social media channels, so most of this info is news to me.
I'm disgusted.
The only thing to do is not watch her channel and not to buy any of her stuff.
Plenty of authors out there, who write good books, I'd rather leave my money there.
Gives selfpublishing a really bad rep.!


message 12: by Logan (new) - added it

Logan Osterwise Elke, I know you don't like Kristen, but that was pretty harsh. Also, on amazon, Kristen is a bestselling author. DON'T BE MEAN!!!


message 13: by Elke (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke Logan wrote: "Elke, I know you don't like Kristen, but that was pretty harsh. Also, on amazon, Kristen is a bestselling author. DON'T BE MEAN!!!" As a reader, who has to fork out money for books, I reserve the right to voice my opinion on the facts as presented above. Please go and check Amazon, Logan, current ranking for Shadow Crown: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,907 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store).
End of discussion.


message 14: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Matthews When I first stumbled upon Kristen's Channel I really liked her content. and i bougth Alpha Drive and Order of omega. This is before the third book came out. I read 1/2 of the first book and i couldn't read anymore. Her writing is horrible. I was tempted to try her Shadow Crown thinking maybe she's grown ove rthe 2 years as a writer, but I was smart this time. I read reviews. I am blown away by the crap she's selling. I don't meant to say it's crap, especially when someone puts work into their novel. I've been writing everyday for the past 4 years on my novel. I have too much OCD to put a book as bad as all of hers are. I'm not saying my book will be better, but Time pays off. When I heard about her Valiance product. I was like, Do you not read any of your reviews? Yes there are trolls out there but so many reviews on her book is not from trolls but people who have bought her book, hoping to get a good story and instead it's grating to read. I was upset that i spent 20 something dollars for her first two books but now I am glad I bought them because whenever I feel like I'm writing crap, I pull out her books and I'll read a page and I'm on fire to keep writing to make my book better than what it is.


message 15: by i♥︎books (new)

i♥︎books I used to follow her YouTube channel, but stopped when she was hawking Himalayan salt lamps, saying they helped her focus on plotting her next novel.


message 16: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Matthews Can you imagine how bad her novels would be without that salt lamp?


message 17: by Elke (last edited Mar 22, 2018 12:07PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke Now, now... :-)
You do realise, you'll set her off again on her podcasts, tweets and videos, where she'll be will be whining about anyone and everyone who dares criticize her outstanding authorpreneurial skills, books and daily affirmations.

We are nothing but a flock of sheep and a bunch of trolls out to prevent her from becoming the best version of herself (you can follow her progress on this journey by carefully monitoring the ever increasing size of her mirrored shades) So, please know your place :-)! And if possible, please give her 2000 USD each. After all, the new Mercedes Benz and her book tour need to be paid for. And possibly the shades. It's a life-style, you know. Soon to be vegan (I wonder if that is an ethically or fiscally driven decision).

Here's a bonus "affirmation" for Ms Martin: Nothing wrong with making mistakes in your writing. Not owning up to them and choosing to insult your readers, however, is. If that is the best version of yourself, Ms Martin, then you ought to take a long and hard look in the mirror. Preferably, without your shades on.


message 18: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star

Sarah Matthews Eve wrote: "I wish there was a mic-drop emoji I could post here.

I had to check myself and skip back to listen again when I heard her say people only find plot holes in her books because we're projecting our ..."


I just realized she has a Jubleit link. Maybe to pay for her Author tour traveling? I'm sick to my stomach. I've stopped watching her videos a while ago because They're not helpful to me. Not anymore. They're not helpful to me.


message 19: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Jacobs I'm 10% done with this book and I can say... you're way too generous in this review.


message 20: by Elke (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke Daniel wrote: "I'm 10% done with this book and I can say... you're way too generous in this review."
Life's short, no point in reading further. It doesn't get better, I'm very sorry to say.


message 21: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Jacobs Elke wrote: "Daniel wrote: "I'm 10% done with this book and I can say... you're way too generous in this review."
Life's short, no point in reading further. It doesn't get better, I'm very sorry to say."


Probably, but I'm a very VERY fast reader. I read the first 13% within like, half an hour, so I'll probably finish it. I enjoy doing status updates almost in an MST3K sort of way.


message 22: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Jacobs I also find it very um... scammy? That the author charges upwards of $2000 for writing lessons when she can't write. She's a marketer without a good product, so basically a scammer.


Jasonnnn Jasonnnn I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE RANTY REVIEWS! THIS MADE ME LAUGH SOOOO HARD!


Alex (Iseultslibrary) It’s a good time for me to mention I bought her book at Bookcon las year for $25. A fucking signed paperback and a bookmark. The scamming you guys are talking about makes sense now.


message 25: by Elke (last edited May 06, 2019 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Elke Alex (Iseultslibrary) wrote: "It’s a good time for me to mention I bought her book at Bookcon las year for $25. A fucking signed paperback and a bookmark. The scamming you guys are talking about makes sense now."

Very sorry you had that experience!
Hope 2019 brings you loads of books that you really enjoy and where the author doesn't rip you off.


message 26: by Daniel (new) - added it

Daniel Jacobs I'm still not done with this book, because although no read fast, I need to take many breaks as well as just... Think. About what I read. About how someone can put together such a mess.
I've read Robert Stanek. His books are awfully boring and written so badly I had to re-read each sentence twice to understand what was going on. But even that didn't make me as depressed as this book.
I'll for sure finish it, maybe even make a longer review, maybe even make a video who the fuck knows, because Kristen Martin and her horrid business practices need to be talked about a lot more on YouTube than they are.


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