Sunday, May 4, 2008

Review of A Kind of Peace

A Kind of Peace
by Andy Boot
303pp (Paperback)
My Rating: 2/10
Amazon Rating: 4/5
LibraryThing Rating: 1/5
Good Reads Rating: 1/5

A Kind of Peace by Andy Boot is the first book in the "Dreams of Inan" series. "Dreams of Inan" is a shared world universe similar to Forgotten Realms in that more than one author writes stories that take place in Inan, a land in which technology and magic are intertwined. It is supposed to be an action-filled, fast-paced fantasy adventure, but unfortunately, it was not all that fast paced or exciting.

The nation states of Inan have formed a peace treaty after warring with each other for over five hundred years. Suddenly the people have to learn to get along with others they have been taught to hate since they were children. One powerful mage is brought in for each nation state so they hold approximately equal power. The warrior Simeon 7, released from a prison camp after the truce was called, is appointed as the new bodyguard of Ramus-Bey, the irritable but studious mage of Bethel. Simeon suspects that this new-found peace may be a cover for an underlying conspiracy against his nation-state and Ramus-Bey.

I did not read this book expecting anything mind-blowing or original since it was just supposed to be a fun adventure. However, it started out slowly, especially for a book that was not all that long to begin with - the book did not begin to pick up until about halfway through. There was a lot of exposition and a lot of this was repetitive to an extent where it felt like it was insulting the reader's intelligence. I do not need to be told twenty times that there is a conspiracy or that a character is smarter than everyone else believes him to be or how the power structure works.

The writing involves a lot of telling instead of showing. I do not normally have a problem with that, but this book did so much telling that it annoyed me (especially since we had gotten the idea already the first ten times we were told about it). For example, in the first few pages we meet Simeon and his love interest Jenna. Jenna is very snide toward Simeon but instead of showing the nature of their relationship through actions, the narrator keeps saying how Jenna sees anyone lower in rank to be inferior to her and compares Simeon to her pet a couple of times.

The characters were very generic and flat, especially the female character Jenna, who rang hollow throughout the entire book. Her actions just did not make sense to me with the attitudes she was attributed with earlier in the book. It states she thinks everyone lower in rank is beneath her and her view toward Simeon is nothing personal but later she just decides he's ok after all. Her character seemed very forced and her presence felt like it served as nothing more than the token female character/love interest for the main character.

The rest of the characters are very, very good with one or two minor flaws or very, very evil. Simeon is loyal and smart, Ramus-Bey is intelligent but grumpy (although he becomes nicer later in the book). There is one character who starts on the side of evil but has a moment of redemption and turns to good. The bad guys go on and on about their ingenious plans and how intelligent they are but then prove to be very incompetent and not nearly as bright as they think they are.

There were also more typos in this book than in the average book. I found two errors within the first three pages, one of which was "the" missing an "e" in the very first paragraph. Omitted punctuation and more typos were prevalent throughout the rest of the book.

This book was mildly entertaining at times once it got to the point and Simeon and Ramus-Bey were somewhat likable since they had the cookie cutter qualities that have drawn people in for ages, although they were never interesting. There were also times where the book tried to be philosophical, but it just wasn't that deep. It was like the author couldn't decide if it should be a high-action adventure or a thoughtful story, tried to do both, and failed to make it work on both levels.

What little I know about the Inan universe from this book has promise - a society in which magic and technology are both present has potential to be interesting. The effects of the end of 500-year war could also be an interesting aspect of the world to explore. Most of the problems with this book were writing and the rest of the books in this series are written by different authors, so perhaps one of these later novels will be more to my liking.

A Kind of Peace just wasn't that entertaining, well-written, or unique. In fact, it was repetitive, dull, and generic.


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