“Shadow Kalliore” by Skylar Gentry

I really wanted to like this novel. It starts out with a powerfully evocative writing style, with an opening scene that promises wonderful world building. It is a story about myth and faith and the power of the individual against all odds.

This story is partly set in an alien post-apocalyptic reality, and partly in a lush metaphysical realm to which characters are transported at random times. Complex mythology, complete with magical people, demigods and creatures, abounds.

The main character is all too human, despite her magical powers. She has the same doubts and fears as all of us, but played out on a grander scale. She is the last of her people, and everything depends on her. This should lead to great conflict and suspense.

However, a serious problem in the writing stems from the strength of the metaphysical characters. They are beings of such huge power that they manipulate the main character unmercifully, to the point where we no longer concern ourselves with how she is going to escape the latest crisis, because more often than not, the picture will fade to black at the key moment, and she will wake up in another reality with the conflict over.

Another difficulty with the writing style is the large amount of explanation of actions, motivation, and feelings. Sometimes this happens at inopportune moments, where the action needs to be moving to create suspense. Otherwise, the action is pretty well non-stop, and fairly well described, although a bit repetitive.

But the major unfortunate flaw of this book is the amateurish writing. While the copy is relatively clean of proofing errors, his book has had the assistance of neither a developmental nor a copy editor. Faulty sentence structure, misuse of words (lie and lay, duel and dual, for example) and poor paragraphing occur regularly. Sudden point-of-view switches and frequent use of passive voice happen for no apparent reason.

For example, what could this sentence possibly mean?

“The slightest inkling of doubt could be fatal by ending the battle prematurely.”

With a good copy edit, this could be a fine book. With some developmental help, it could be a classic. This is a to-be-continued story. I urge the author to find a good editor for the second installment.

This book was originally reviewed on Reedsy Discovery.

About the Author: Gordon Long

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