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The War Golem by J.A. Giunta

 

Goblins craft their greatest weapon, a massive body of iron and enchantment. To complete the war golem, they summon the most evil being in existence and bind his spirit to their creation. What they wanted was a video game character; unfortunately, what they got was a teenage griefer.

Note: The War Golem contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A serialized novel, updating weekly

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Listed: Mar 13, 2017

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Same song on repeat, but each time with a different beat

By Kraken Attacken, member

Apr 9, 2018: I believe the best stories have one thing in common . . . well . . . a few things, but I’m talking about just one of those things right now.

The subject of theme and narrative. And let me say right now that this should not be confused with genre.

I’m not going to go naming names, since I don’t want to take too much focus away from the particular work that this review focuses on, but I will speak in general terms in giving a few examples:

Whether it be the kind of tale which focuses on a person (or people) overcoming their fear to become what they were truly meant to be, or a story about someone going on a journey of discovery which helps them finally unlock their true potential, or even a story where a broken person gets a second chance to make a difference in the world, I’ve read several stories with such themes, and one of the connecting threads is this; throughout the entire story right up till the end, you could see theme and narrative grow and evolve consistently.

Even though this story hasn’t gotten very far, I honestly feel a certain level of dissonance where the theme is concerned, and that is my main concern with the story. But as always, with every review I do, I’ll get into the meat of the matter after I give a bit of metaphor, so skip the next section if you’re not into that.


You wake up to find a delectable feast of confectioneries on your bedside table. How did they get there? Who put them there? What the bloody hell is going on? Who cares, time to dig in!

All goes well at first as you stuff your face with all manner of cakes and pastries, cookies and candies. However, as you continue to dig down, you begin to find something odd.

The flavours, and sometimes even the consistency of the confections isn’t always what you think it should be. Never completely bad or distasteful, but biting into and tasting something that looks and smells like Apple Pie, with Twizzler taste and texture instead . . . feels a bit off, and that’s just for starters. It’s all delicious still, but you’re not quite sure if you can enjoy it like you thought you might.


When I started reading The War Golem, from the words on the first page to the description of the work, I got the sense that this would be a fantastic romp; yeah the MC has a bad attitude and is a supreme narcissist who views the world he finds himself in as a playground where he can do as he pleases, but from the initial impressions, that seems to be par for the course for this story. Wretched little Gobs led by a griefer. Let the maligned and gleeful conquest ensue, and throw moral compunction to the wind!

This even seems to be exemplified by how reckless the MC is, not caring how his actions, which can be asinine at times, effect the lives of the creatures in this world . . . except . . . that this theme begins to shift, the narrative morphing into a new form. He attempts to perform compassionate actions, while still being uncaring and apathetic. This doesn’t really build him up as a nuanced character, but rather makes it very difficult to properly see his identity, and shifts the tone of the righting somewhat at times, making the narrative seem inconsistent.

I must say though that the world the writer paints is quite an in-depth one, even if allot of the elements that are used are pulled from fantasy convention. The author has found a way to make things work in a unique way that allows the story to feel like it has validity and is based on a solid foundation of lore and concepts. It does currently feel a bit hollow, however, and I’m hoping that once the depths of the various locales and peoples are properly explored, that this feeling will go away.

The only other issues I find distracting from proper enjoyment might stem from the MC’s lack of proper identity. There is at least one time where the MC seems to make a decision contrary to the best course of action that he can see, favouring an overly compassionate route instead, but this is juxtaposed against his somewhat disregard for the full well being of others. There is also the possibility that that specific instance of inconsistency is crafted intentionally to push the story in a particular direction, and I hope that’s not the case, as it’s disconcerting when such a shift is seen in a story for no other purpose than to shove the plot into a new direction.

All in all, I do find this story rather entertaining, and I hope the dissonance is a symptom of the MC finding his identity and not a mainstay of this story, intentional or not. I think I’ll let the story build up a bit, then I’ll rewrite this review if I see the story getting better.

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