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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Review - The Lineage of Tellus

I'm reviewing the book The Lineage of Tellus - Book 1: Memories & Murder by L J Hasbrouck. I received this from LibraryThing's early reviewer program.



Here's the summary from Amazon:
My name is Ashei Greyhawke and I'm just like you. I go to college, have a job, live with my beloved mother, and have a pet goat named Chewy.

Well, maybe you don't love your mother. I suppose not everyone's life is the same. My best friends Tristane and Marianne don't even have mothers. Now I don't either. I came home last night after a long shift at the tavern and found her dead. She'd been murdered, her heart removed from her body ... but there's no wound to speak of.

Tristane (who's also my ex--it's rather complicated) says it's the work of Sanguinem Magus. Magus is the natural energy that exists in the land I live in, called Tellus. Tris is a mage, but not the kind of mage who would do something like this.

I'm going to find the mage who did.

And then I'm going to kill them.

Memories & Murder, is book 1 of The Lineage of Tellus, a high fantasy series for fans of adventure, dry wit, and broad-minded sexuality.


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If you had asked me how I was going to review this book after I had gotten about a third of the way through, I would have told you "maybe two stars". The characters were so flat and seemed to exist to only tell a constant string of sex-related jokes and innuendos. This all but pushed aside the plot and had me rolling my eyes and wishing they'd get back to the actual story. Don't get me wrong, I love humor and lighthearted stuff, but there was just too much of it and it was hurting the story rather than making it more interesting. I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters, but I kept going. I wanted to give this a chance because there was potential with the storyline, if only the characters would stop getting distracted from it.

I'm glad I stuck with it. Somewhere around the halfway mark, the author seemed to find her stride. Probably not coincidentally, this corresponded to the number of innuendos dropping and the characters moving along with the plot. There were still innuendos from that point on, but they were much better placed so that whenever they occurred, I found myself laughing rather than eye rolling. I think that's probably the balance the author has to try to reach: somewhere between humor and plot. Space the jokes out and they have a much greater effect. The characters at this point also started to get more development and became a lot more interesting. They had started out somewhat stereotypical and flat, but they did get some more personality as the story went on. Some of the plot felt a little forced, particularly at the beginning, but overall the story fit together. This book also had something that I thought was unique: illustrations. Spaced throughout the book were pictures of the characters and scenes and these were quite good. It was neat to have a visual of the characters.

I think it's probably a common problem with newish writers that the beginning of the story doesn't end up as polished as the rest; with a few more edits, I think the beginning could have been improved, too. It still read like this was an early book, but I do truly think the author has potential. I'd definitely be willing to read more in the series because I think she's going to keep improving the more she writes.

Overall, I did end up enjoying this book, something I didn't think I'd say at the beginning. I'm glad I did like it because it was a refreshing read; the book I read before this one had been filled to the brim with misogyny and this one was so very much the opposite of that one, which was what I needed. This was lighthearted, which I always appreciate. (I'm not a fan of "dark" fantasy- humor and overall positivity are what I like and this book had both.) I'll always be intrigued by books with "broad sexuality" because I love reading things with an LGBT spin- just please, tone down the frequency of innuendos next time. I'm thinking I'll give this 3 1/2 stars only because the first third of the book didn't pull me in, but I'm confident that I'd give her later books a higher star count. This young author does have potential!

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