Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Dristlemore by Brian Moniz is a traditionally styled fantasy which takes the reader on a quest within the magical realm of Gandril.
The narrative revolves around a young man named Cain who escapes a sudden raid on his village of Geddington by the forces of the Twilight Union as lord Saer Mydoc searches high and low for an enormously powerful sorcerer named Dristlemore. Cain and his surviving companions must then set out on a quest for answers with little more than the name "Dristlemore" and a cryptic letter from a secret magical society called "The Selected."
In Dristlemore we have your basic fantasy setting and the archetypal "Bad Wizard / Good Wizard" style of quest and drama. The story has the potential to be very engaging if executed properly. However, the reality is that Dristlemore is plagued by several key problems which continually disengage the reader from the story.
1.) The writing in Dristlemore doesn't lack for discriptive prose, but it does lack the sort of engaging tension in the prose necessary to propel the reader forward through the story. Dristlemore tends to sputter along more like an engine out of time, never gaining the momentum one would hope for.
2.) A recurrent problem throughout Dristlemore is Mr. Moniz's tendency to reiterate the exact same thought several times within one paragraph in consecutive sentences.
:Example: "Cain looked up at Garret. He had totally forgotten Lee knew something about The Selected! With all that was going through his mind and the amount of traveling they had all done today, he had forgotten. He was unsure how he could have, but he did."
:Example: "The farfetched thought of his mother learning magic entered his mind, but he quickly dismissed it. It was the only logical explanation he could think of, but he highly doubted it was true. He didn't think it possible his mother could use magic."
Now we can easily see that the first sentence covers the thought, but it's as though the writer is trying to decide which way best to say it and instead just writes every way he could state it. This sort of thing is ongoing throughout the book and comes across like hitting a speed bump at 60 mph.
3.) The dialogue also lacks the interest and conviction hoped for and seems more stilted than anything.
Now, these are problems we all might expect from a first time novelist like Mr. Moniz, however (and this is where the whole subsidy publisher "getting what you pay for" argument comes in), you would expect that Iuniverse would have provided enough editing to catch these problems and help the paying author fix them before going to press. What we tend to find in the whole subsidy publisher realm is that rather than genuinely trying to put together a marketable book, the subsidy like Iuniverse is more interested in catering to author opinion and producing a book they already anticipate is going to sell more copies to the author than anyone else.
Once again, I have to point out that the cover, which was designed by Mr. Moniz, lacks that professional quality you would expect (his name is even off center on the cover of the actual book) and this is a key factor when selling to online customers in particular. One might think, given that Iuniverse didn't do any cover design, that the money paid could have gotten some better editing to fix the aforementioned problems. On a slightly positive note, the interior does have some nice maps, but it is unlikely nice maps are going to save the project with so many other problems left in place. I don't ever desire to "bash" the writer, but rather provide some constructive criticism so that authors, especially self published authors, can step up to the plate and give themselves the best opportunity for success with their work.

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