Recognizing the importance of book reviews to attracting new readers, I have decided to start better utilizing my blog space. Since I am already reading a variety of other books in the fantasy genre, why not review them. In this case, Secret Realms Reviews & Services is running a blog tour for a fellow author, Renee Scattergood. After downloading a free copy of her first book, I am here to tell you all about what I think. Please note, I have actually prepared review guidelines, but seeing as this is my first go at it, I am not sure I will stick to them 100%. Regardless, here are a couple of things to remember. First, I downloaded this for free from Amazon but have not received any compensation for this review. It is honest and unbiased (or at least as unbiased as any review can be. Humans are inherently biased, but I like to think I can be pretty level-headed). Second, the review is broken up into two parts. The first part has no spoilers, the second part may. In this case, I don’t think it will, but it may. Without further ado, please consider my review for The Shadow Stalkers Part 1, by Renee Scattergood.
The Book Quality
Though there seems to be a myth out there that it is reserved to self-published authors, the truth is that the quality of books today are often lacking. When picking up any new book, I am always a bit nervous about what I am getting into. That nervousness flared up when I discovered that this book was written in first person. Generally, I don’t like first person stories. I like the 3rd person narrative better -it’s just a matter of taste. Despite that, I am glad to say that by the end of the first chapter I had not only gotten used to this perspective, but I very much enjoyed it. In fact, I think telling the story from the first person like this made it even better overall.
Moving past this initial concern, I am also happy to report that I didn’t find any blaring issues with the writing or editing. Everything was professionally written and edited and the story stuck together as a cohesive whole. One thing that I notice in authors today (sometimes myself as I write) is the tendency to try and switch perspective while writing. In this story, readers stick with the first person perspective throughout without any confusion of mischaracterization. Though I feel like I ought to say more, there really isn’t much else to say. As far as quality is concerned, this was on point.
The Story Quality
In my mind, a story is a definite win if it can suck you in within the first chapter. In this case, Scattergood does an extraordinary job of sucking you in the first few pages. The book starts out really strong, introducing the main character (Auren) and her adoptive father, Kudo. Through a quick dream sequence, readers are brought into Auren’s world and get a glimpse of what the future holds. This strong start is maintained in the first few chapters as this fantastic world unfolds around the reader. As you read more into the story, it becomes easy to get in the shoes of Auren and feel her disdain for the Galvadi Empire.
Of course, there is more to a story than just the world it takes place in and the perspective the character offers. In this first book, Scattergood continues to demonstrate a real knack for the craft by including all of those elements. The book has great pacing, likable characters, and a fair bit of adventure and suspense. Personally, I don’t count this as a negative, but I wasn’t overly surprised by anything within the story. Then again, I am pretty keen on spotting endings before they come, so you may well find yourself surprises with some of the events that unfold. Overall, I’d say that story is superb.
Sometimes, I am hesitant to give a rating. In this case, I have no qualms declaring that this is a 5-star read. I found myself very interested in the characters, the plot, and the world that Renee introduces in The Shadow Stalkers. I am excited to get my hands on the next book and glad to be a part of this book tour. If you are looking for a fantasy read with some sci-fi/futuristic elements to it, you won’t find many options out there that can compare with this.
About the Author
Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy, and she’d dabbling with paranormal thrillers under a pen name.
She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.