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NO MAN AN ISLAND

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By Robert Rodgers, author of The Last Skull

Aug 19, 2011: No Man An Island is a story about a group of friends marooned on an island who find themselves embroiled in a plot involving dreams, dragons, knights, and end-of-the-world prophecies.

I read up to chapter 14; so far, it doesn’t really snatch my fancy, but I’m not particularly fond of slow paced books, and this is definitely a slow burn. The story (which is, in fact, completed and available on the web) bills itself as an ‘experimental novel’; what that amounts to so far is an occasional chapter dedicated to foreshadowing and some narrative subterfuge (such as presenting character-defining chapters with little plot movement in reversed order). Otherwise, up to this point, it reads as a straight-forward "friends in strange circumstances, discover that the power was inside them all along" tale.

While I often found the prose a bit of a slog, it’s not unmanageable or unwieldy—I can see how it might be just the right flavor for certain readers. The dialogue is—well, /okay/, but a little too realistic for my taste (not nearly enough pepper-sauce). As a result, there are a lot of characters to keep track of and not nearly enough reasons for me to differentiate between them (though a few ‘tricks’ do help—one character is known for falling asleep at inopportune times, another for being grouchy and serious). The few action scenes I encountered (all two of them, actually) were well-written, if a little long and bizarre; I expect the rest of the action scenes to be similarly digestible.

As it stands now, it feels like a slice-of-life story with lots of foreshadowing, interrupted by the sudden call of adventure. I can see how this would appeal, given the right circumstances; my only real complaint (and, thusly, warning) is that it requires a bit of an investment for people who want their characters to reach out of the screen, seize you by the throat, and throttle you against the monitor. I’d recommend it for those who enjoy slow-burn call-to-adventure stories involving a group of ordinary friends placed in extraordinary circumstances.

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