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The Demon Tamer by Christian Brancati | Book Review

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This is a free review on a novel. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I am in no way a professional. Thoughts are subjective, take it with a grain of salt.
Enjoy!

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Blurb:

The legends tell of a small village created by the Gods, where life flows without death stopping it. The Adults hide a great secret: on the mountains lives an evil Dragon, guardian of an ancient power, and it is said that he only eats children.

In the darkness of the night, moved by the lust for this power, the Demons invade the impenetrable mountain range of the Kolgòta that protects the village. Only Dasmond, a young boy, fights his enemies to save the true heir of the ancient power: “The Son of the Dragon”.

An exciting story set at the time of the Emperor Constantine, where the Demons mingle among the people and only a select few can eradicate Evil from our world. They are those who will one day be called “The Demon Tamers”.

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Initial Reaction:

My initial reaction presents the author spending more describing the fancy weapons the characters were using, then the plot or character development.

Lack of in-depth scene description but significant amounts of weapon descriptions. The author used creative language, however. With scenes right from one of my personal favourite video games- Skyrim. The author has a creative vision that he expresses well.

Quotation Marks:

In lack of quotation marks, author uses ‘<< >>’ instead. As well as this, the author uses ‘<< >>’ as a way to make narrator sentences stand out. I am uncertain whether this was done for a more serious intent, to make the sentences stand out, or if it was done for design.

Language:

“He hit the armor of a centurion, his blade crossed his armor and so he managed to save three elders. But Evil had not yet corrupted his heart.”

How does his blade crossing his armour amount to him saving three elders? Crossed as it went past? Through? Undefined. The author fails to express the actions behind each conclusion, however, with some sentence context, it is easy to tell what the author is attempting to convey.

Writing:

«The cavalry destroyed all the houses, setting a fire that did not spare the people hidden inside them. On the morning of that fateful day, the village enjoyed its homes painted in the colors of the rainbow, but that evening they all became as black as ash. There was bloodshed everywhere».

Here is an example of how formally rigid the writing is. It lacks flow or structure. The author continuously tells the reader what is happening, instead of guiding them to that conclusion.
This is an easy mistake most new authors do, and it is easily fixable once demonstrated how. Tips and advice will be provided below for the author to read if they wish to do so.

Unnecessary words:

«One day Romans, the wind of the east will come! One day your end will come!» But at that precise moment his neck was pierced by a pilum, an iron javelin, which pierced the flesh of the noble Xandor. They were the last words of a great man.

Unnecessary words, “at that precise moment”. It doesn’t sound fluid in dialogue, so writing is jagged to read. I struggle to get immersed in the reading as the world isn’t infolding before my ears, it’s just being informed. Writing should flow naturally, read as if each word was created for the sentence.

Again this can be seen below:

At that juncture of time, just that the man overcame the port door, Dasmond stuck his dagger into his left eye, causing instant death.

These sentences are so hard to read. Why was the word juncture necessary here? Or the sentence “causing instant death”. It doesn’t sound fascinating or even horrific, it doesn’t shock me, it just is hard to read.

Fixing It:

Now, an easy way to fix this is to read the sentence aloud. If you can read the sentences quickly, without stumbling over your words or repeating a word, then it should flow adequately enough. If you hesitate, like on the word juncture, then perhaps it shouldn’t be used in a sentence. This comes with practice, though.

Sudden Actions:

“At that moment, the world went quiet. The only sound that could be heard was the whoosh through the air of the steel javelin that pierced his chest.”

Again, “pierced the flesh” its as if the author is going for the shock value of the writing.
Here, it doesn’t tell you what happens. It shows you; it makes you feel like you can almost hear the sound in your ear. A reader shouldn’t feel spoon-fed information or feel as though they aren’t actually reading an interesting novel, they’re being told it.

Make sure it doesn’t sound like you are trying to sound horrific, the actions should be horrifying, not the words you use. But, in saying this, it is quite difficult to get over that hurdle when you are writing a novel. Sometimes, even the best of authors get stuck on this hump.

Exclamation Marks:

«Old man! Come out!»

This is just a randomly pulled example, but it demonstrates the overuse of exclamation marks.

If you’re wanting an impactful sentence the character is saying, write it impactful. Don’t just use exclamation marks because that is weak writing and result in the exclamation marks having an even lesser value in the writing.

«You, ruthless leader! Fight against me! Enter my home! You alone! We two and no one else!»

Why does the author feel the need to add so many exclamation marks? Again, extremely unnecessary. Make the words sound angry, use tone of sentences and voice structure (when writing) to convey the anger/intent. This could also be done by stating it after the sentence is over “he snarled” “he spat” “the words flowed with disgust”.

Formal Language:

…surrounded by a system of three concentric circles of diamond-tipped spears that emerged from the ground thanks to the activation of three levers.

This sentence just holds too much formal, tight language. I feel as though the author isn’t leaving anything to the imagination, as they are trying to describe everything down to the tip of a spear.

Writing should unleash creativity in the author, open up a world to the readers. However, with this, it should still allow the reader to create an image of what is going on. In Harry Potter, J. K Rowling doesn’t explain Harry Potter by describing the exact angle his lightning bolt scar is on his forehead.

Helpful Article:

I found an exact article that describes this, and I quote-
“…slight, dark hair, brown skin, and brown eyes unremarkable, unlike the aristocratic lines of her face, including a nose she hadn’t quite grown into yet.”

They use this example and go on to state-

“It took me about five seconds to forget every word of that character description. Actually, I’ve forgotten it again. What color is her hair now?”

You can find this article here https://pshoffman.com/2017/12/14/how-j-k-rowling-creates-unforgettable-character-descriptions-with-examples/

Scripture:

«Thank God, I owe you my life! You’re my hero!» the girl exclaimed with tears in her eyes.
«A true man always defends the weakest! If I could not save you, I would not deserve to be here now!» replied the young man.


Please do not write cliche sentences!-
“A true man always defends the weakest”?
“You’re my hero”

Don’t use words you’ve heard before; create original writing. “You’re my hero” the girl fawned– is the most cliche piece of writing I have found in novels with romance weaved in. You can convey the said concept of her viewing him as a hero without point-blank stating it.

Not only is the language important but on page 17/159, it has 713 words of continuous dialogue. I have no words, or even space to place it here as an example!

How to do so?

Keep dialogue short, and original to each character. I cannot stress this enough. If you are trying to reveal a character’s backstory, don’t hold it back until a time in the middle of the novel where he tells the reader his entire story. The point of sub-points or even main plots is to grow the character and further the plot.

To perfect a novel, slowly release information as the ‘quest’ continues, letting the reader get an insight into the character feeling more connected. Because as soon as I saw that massive dialogue, I skimmed it and retained nothing. But again, this comes with practice.

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Actional Flow:

Bloodshed was atrocious. A Roman ballista in one shot killed five women.

How did it kill the five women? Were they all lined up; their chests proudly puffed awaiting the bullet? Don’t just state it happened within a single sentence, we as readers cannot see the vision in your head of it happening, describe it to us. How did the ‘Roman ballista’ kill five women at once?

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Favourite Quote/Sentence:

«Groowl» Damian’s stomach rumbled.

«Oh! Those people sitting, don’t have pants!» Damian said, seeing through a window.

«One day you will understand. Pay attention to those around you, your journey will be long and difficult. Faith is like that little blue bird that is eating at your feet, never abandon it!» then she fell silent forever.

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Final Thoughts:

My final thoughts are that the writing could be significantly better, but in saying that, it isn’t a bad novel as the author has quite an imagination. It reminds of a Skyrim battle. The main character going on several quests, picking up stragglers and helping them out. It does, however, lack in several sections- many of which is the language, dialogue and character/scene descriptors. This can be improved easily, and as it stands it is fine to read.

With magic, well-described weapons and in-depth knowledge of medieval customs this novel did really well for what it was aiming to do.

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Ratings:

Grammatical: 2.5/5 (For the use of ‘<< >>’ as quotation marks)
Sentence structure: 2/5
Content: 4.5/5
Readability: 3/5

Overall: 3.5

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Improvements/Tips:

Dear Author, you are capable of brilliant writing.
No matter how much critique or negative feedback you receive, I want you to continue your writing because you hold a world in your hand. Never give that up.
Now, these tips below are in no way negative and I have given you resources to improve your writing if you wish to do so. Good luck with your endeavours.

Plot:

A good novel has one (or sometimes two) main plot, and several sub-plots.
Expand on this, keep this in mind- “What is the aim of this novel?”
Is it to retell a story of a heroic character who has to destroy (blank) or save (blank)? Or is it to discover oneself?
Once you have created this, then create the sub-plots that the character has to do to continue the main plot. This should push character development and aid in the plot.
This article has some helpful advice: https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/7-ways-to-add-great-subplots-to-your-novel

Dialogue:

You also need to expand on the dialogue. Make each character’s ‘voice’ different. They all shouldn’t have the same formal language, males and females have different tones. As well as personalty traits influencing the way a character should speak. Give a person an accent, even if you can’t hear it, you can still influence the writing as if you could hear it. You could also include lisps, drawls or even stutters. However, keep caution as overuse takes away from the originality of the character.

This article is helpful for this: https://self-publishingschool.com/how-to-write-dialogue/

Word Choice:

I cannot stress this enough, do not add unnecessary words in. Don’t add difficult words to make your sentences sound formal. And do not add words for impact.
I learnt this long time ago (As I was a culprit of it too), never provide words for impact, write sentences that give impact.

…Suddenly, a knife was flung through the air, hitting him in the chest.
Compared to: …A soft whisper was heard, cutting through the silent air before he saw it. It was too late. The knife was embedded in his chest.

Now, I’m not saying what I provided was good writing, but I’m trying to convey the way writing can be expressed to show you something unexpected, compared to telling you it was unexpected.

Article:

https://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comments/1gg9pq/what_are_some_effective_ways_to_convey_sudden/
And this article should assist with this: http://www.iteenwrite.com/three/

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The three examples I provided above should give you a running start at improving your novel. But, take what I say with a grain of salt. Never take constructive criticism to heart, and never it let it stop you from doing what you love.

The aim of this review should show you in bland writing the errors and improvements in your writing.
We are all flawed beings, and we all have improvements to make.

My opinion comes from being an avid reader and an aspiring author myself. So you have achieved a feat that I have yet reached. I hope to pass my mistakes and knowledge onto you, and good luck.

Now, I’d like to finish this off with saying this is my own personal beliefs and opinions, take what I say with a grain of salt. I am in no way means a professional.

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Thank you guys for reading! If you’d like to read their novel check it out on Amazon at below!
This was a free review, but if you’d like to read it, it is free for kindle unlimited, and paperback is only $36.23. Link will be below if you’d like to read it!
If you agree or have contrasting opinions feel free to comment down below or at my Instagram at @in_another_realm.

Genres:
Pages: 318
Authors: Christian Brancati
Illustrator: Teresa D’Aprea
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com.au/Demon-Tamer-Vol-dragon-book-ebook/dp/B07SCS1MDL/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=the+demon+tamer&qid=1569644684&s=gateway&sr=8-3

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