I requested this ARC because of the author being local to me. I was intrigued by the premise of the story, but was hesitant that it might be too young of a read for me. With that being said, I thought this novel was wonderfully written. The story played out well and left me excited to real more from this author and this world. I rated it a 3.5 to 4 star rating.
I'm sorry to report that this is a DNF. I threw in the towel at 17%. I'm kind of irritated with this book!!
It is in desperate need of professional editing. Really. I don't quite know where to begin. I am not talking about grammar and punctuation errors, either, although there are a number of them. I love historical fiction, and I really had high hopes for this.
This takes place in Scotland, 1286 AD. In 1286 AD, people did not "ponder what was up". Neither did they say "whatsit". (The actual sentence was "Staring at it for a minute, he stepped over and kicked the whatsit.") Nor did they they say that it was a "fine day for a dust up". And as to this sentence, "The English should be about thirty clicks away", clicks should be klicks. Klicks is a U.S. military slang term for kilometers; neither the U.S. military nor kilometers as a unit of measurement were around in 1286 AD. I'm also pretty confident that "shot caller" wasn't in use. I kept coming across this modern vernacular in a setting depicting the Middle Ages.
In addition to the jarring use of modern slang, the prose was extremely awkward. Actually, it was both purple and awkward. Some of the vocabulary used was odd, and I tripped over way too many adjectives.
Here's a sample paragraph from the beginning of the book that is a good example of too many adjectives:
<i>"Overhead, pockets of cloud in tones of ever darkening gray, dashed across the Highland skies of Scotland. Now and again the sun burned through a narrow gap, illuminating the uplands with mammoth beams of life force until it once more retreated behind the pillow-shaped breath of earth's hidden spirit. The scent in the atmosphere was of rain to come and Alastair, seeking the final life-giving rays, lay on his back in a field of tall gilded grass until it began. It started slowly at first, but the rain droplets soon grew to pellets in sync with the wind driving it down. With an open mouth, he caught strays on his parched tongue ; every capture refreshing his desiccated taste buds. The precipitation came quicker, changing pellets to pills, and on its downward trajectory, marinated its makeup with every molecule absorbed."</i>
I really don't understand why the author went with "marinated its makeup", but he did. Some more examples of some puzzling word usage and awkward phrasing:
<i>"The dark man repeated as he smirked . He stared at Donnan with a corrupt complex and then jumped off his ride." </i>Maybe this was supposed to be complexion? But what is a corrupt complexion? And "jumping off his ride"? Again, we're reading about the year 1286.
<i>"...as horse's hooves pounded off in the distance and leading up the trail to his hill topped landscape." </i> Hill topped landscape?
<i>"...Alan said while the two ladies collected in." </i>How did they collect in? Why collect? Are they part of a set of baseball trading cards? It's just nonsensical and unnecessary. He could have said that the two ladies came in, went in, entered, sashayed,...
Had the author chosen brevity and appropriate word usage the story would have flowed much more smoothly. I have a suspicion that some things were Thesaurus-error. It's a shame because had the tale been told in a simple and clear manner it might have worked out for me. I have overlooked a lot when I enjoy a story. But this book became more aggravating than enjoyable.
I received this eARC from Netgalley. I wish that it had worked out more favorably.