Rai's Reviews > Black & Red

Black & Red by Sarah Jayne Nantais
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bookshelves: 2013

EDIT: I would just like to add, to all my Goodread friends, Facebook friends, or anyone who is just happening by... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give this book a buy: http://sarahjaynenantais.com/books/
Supporting a new author is a HUGE deal. Honest reviews are greatly important to new authors, and I would love to see more people's opinions on this piece. If you can't afford $3 to buy it, send me a note and I will gift it to you! I will gift it to anyone that will take a few days out of their life to read this work.

And now, on to the original review:

I would like to start with a huge EXPLETIVE to goodreads, for making it if you click outside of the review box before hitting save, it deletes what you've wrote. Thanks for getting rid of my almost completed review. If it was any other book, I would just say fuck it, and leave it at a star rating, but however, this is not just any other book.

This is a book by my good friend, Sarah Jayne Nantais. In fact, it's her first published book. And I'm so so proud of her for getting out there, and releasing a book. This is a solid 3.5 star book, almost 4 stars. And I can't wait until she gets a full publishing contract, because she has such great potential as an author.

That being said, it is getting a 3 star rating on Goodreads, because it is a debut book by a self-published author. And with that, comes certain idiosyncrasies that you don't (usually) find in professionally edited books (but sometimes do, because I can pick out a spelling or grammar error a mile away, in someone else's writing). Such as mixing up in and on, or using infamous when the proper word is probably actually just famous.

From a story standpoint, there is one thing that flaws it for me. And that's the original motivation behind sending Kalan to the other realm. I felt it was weak. And that cast a glow on the rest of the novel. Once she is returned to the world, the story progresses fairly cleanly (except, I'm annoyed to say, that the 'quick travel' that is introduced in the second half completely negates the travel time spent developing the group dynamic in the first half, which is completely necessary for the characters).

Kalan though as a character, seems to waver. Sometimes it feels like she is content to being free, sometimes she is bent on revenge, sometimes it's like she would just like to live out her life in peace. How her character acts in the finale of the novel is excellent though, and she is very well portrayed at that time, but there is a little inconsistency before that.

My favourite character by far is Alastair. He is bat shit crazy, and acts every bit of the revenge determined psychopath along the way. He was developed and portrayed in exactly a spot-on manner, I wouldn't want to see a single thing changed with him.

And that leaves us with the "main" character, Terentya. I will say clearly, she didn't do anything for me. She is supposed to be a brilliant fighter with crippling self-esteem and trust issues... but those issues don't really impact anything. Her other flaws, not being able to read and being weak in magic, don't end up affecting anything, since she learns to read and is then able to cast difficult magic without any repercussions. She has such a colourful backstory and such great potential, but she just fell short for me. She was just too perfect in her ability to lead and teach and always making (the right) decisions.

Some of the concepts in the story (the way magic works, the red hair, the self-identifying weaponry) are not things I would have done, but I'm not in charge here. The fact is, they were introduced consistently and were well developed. Actually, I love the red hair thing, but I think perhaps it was under-utilized in how people are affected about being around someone with red hair...

The fact is, Sarah had a story to tell and it got told. A polished version coming from a major publisher would have looked a little different in certain aspects, but the main story behind it would have remained, as it's solid. And again, a very great effort by Sarah and I can't wait to read more of her novels.

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Reading Progress

June 4, 2013 – Started Reading
June 4, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
June 4, 2013 – Shelved
June 4, 2013 –
0.0% "Just downloaded this brand new book published by a good friend of mine. I'll have an honest review as I go along though. Check out her blog here for purchasing links, or email her for a free copy in exchange for a review: http://sarahjaynenantais.com/2013/06/... (though I paid for it, because it's $3 and I support new authors)"
June 4, 2013 –
page 25
"This is an interesting read. Knowing the author, I have to be objective. And from that point, I see flaws in the book. The magic seems without defined boundaries or structure - which is still developing, so it's only a minor note. The story is very intriguing. The key characters are rather tragic and dramatic, I'm torn about feeling sorry for them."
June 4, 2013 –
page 25
"I can nit pick and point out minor editing errors or faulty prose... however, there are many other books I've read (and enjoyed) with much more grievous errors. As Sarah's first published work, she has done a great job at polishing it. I'm able to lose myself in the story effortlessly, and it keeps me engaged."
August 16, 2013 –
33.0% "I'm so incredibly slow at reading, even though Sarah has done a great job with her first novel."
December 17, 2013 –
December 20, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
December 20, 2013 – Finished Reading

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