Review of The Sword: A Novel (Chiveis Trilogy) by Bryan Litfin

I started reading this novel with the “free excerpt” from Amazon, and I immediately purchased it once my free pages were done.

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This novel was everything I was looking for…  A Medieval setting with a very original twist.  My son (the middle grade reviewer) read over my shoulder one day and said “That looks great, can I read it?”

I had to finish it first before I could answer, but even looking over my shoulder, he picked up on the sharp writing, and compelling plot.

Despite all this, I finished the book disappointed.  Why?  Let’s discuss.

The “sharp writing” swayed a little further on.  The characters lost “their voice” a few times.  At least from my perspective it seemed wrong.  Also, there were too many points of view, and too many characters.  Yes, I understood the necessity of each of them, but with their odd names, I had trouble remembering who was who.

The novel is cut into three “books”.  At the end of book one, I sat back and said.  “Wow, that was cool.”

I was still enjoying it at that point, but then it turned for me.  It got very wrapped up in what happened at the end of book one.  Yes, I suppose that is what the writer wanted to do, but he had me so in-tune to the relationship development of two characters at that point, that the interjection of the new plot element was jarring.

I just really couldn’t get into the second and third books, (the second being the worst of the two)

What I learned as a writer:

I keep going back to that one blog post I read a year ago (I really wish I could remember her name) where she said “The first chapter is a promise to your reader”

That is what my problem was.  I was promised a very different story than the one that ended up the novel.  I supposed the “second story” was good, but it wasn’t what I was interested in at that point.

I would also be careful to follow the rules of POV.  For instance, there is a scene told in a beggar’s POV.  It is only a few pages long.  It is there because the author wanted someone had to see the two Main characters walking through the forest. – WHY?  You never see or hear from this character again.

Little things like that annoyed me, and made me feel less standoffish about the POV cuts I have done in my novel.  There could have been a much easier way to do that scene (above) without injecting another random character in the story.

In the end, I was jumping back and forth from head to head so much, I don’t even know whose side I was rooting for. (You get the POV of the good guys and the bad guys.)

So, Book one I would give four solid Oreos.  But the overall novel… all three books, I would give three stars.

I would recommend this to anyone really interested in religion, and the development of religion.  That is what this novel is about.  Granted, religion is mentioned in the “blurb” but after looking at the cover, and reading the first several chapters, I was ready for something very different.

Bummer for me, because I was really ready to enjoy this.


10 responses to “Review of The Sword: A Novel (Chiveis Trilogy) by Bryan Litfin

  1. I wonder how this book managed to sneak past the editor then? Surely what you describe about offputting the reader would have received some specific attention.. .

  2. Author, G. D. Grace

    Reblogged this on Author, G. D. Grace.

  3. I love your review of this because it give writers insight into where a book goes awry (sp?) — I have read books where I get very caught up in a story line then the story changes and it is not at all what I bargained for – it sounds like this happened to you
    Thanks for clearly outlining where the book went offtrack – it is very helpful

  4. Those elements would bother me, too–POV switches and an extra-large cast are big red flags for me when I pick up a book. Sounds like the author needed a little bit of help with structure and that he thought by dividing the novel into 3 sections, no one would notice the holes. But obviously, the holes are there, just ‘disguised’.

  5. Shame. You had me intrigued when I saw the cover. I know all to well about multiple POVs. Had to chop at least seven out of my novel. The writing is stronger because of it, I have to admit.

    I hate that with fantasy novels – the need to use names one can’t pronounce or remember. I understand the need for original names, but at least make them memorable so the reader can follow along. It’s one thing that got me about LOTR – Sauran, Sauraman (sp), Bifur, Bofur, Bombur from The Hobbit. It gets too confusing.

    It’s a shame the author couldn’t keep your interest.

    • Don’t get me wrong
      It was a decent book story wise
      It is just that it went from an action adventure romance
      To a novel about god coming back to the world and the struggle with the bad guy gods
      If it didn’t change it’s tune so much it would have been much better
      I enjoyed the religious part
      But by then I was too interested in the romance to. Be interested in the story changing

  6. That’s too bad 😦 It’s really annoying when books start off great and then just trickle off. My own example — The Warded Man by Peter V Brett. The first book was amazing. Then I read the sequel, and it didn’t even rank “meh”. I was so disappointed. I don’t know if I’m even going to buy the third one. Maybe I’ll just pretend the sequels don’t exist, and that the first book is a standalone 😀