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THE SILVER RING

I think there’s a novel hiding in the novella somewhere

By Shutsumon, author of Tales of the First

Aug 28, 2009: The Silver Ring is a young adult fantasy thriller that opens with a bang and doesn’t let up until the climax.

The Good:

  1. Robert Swartwood knows how to put a cliffhanger at the end of each of his short chapters. I don’t know if he initially posted as a serial – but if he did he probably had readers champing at the bit for the next part. Even with its flaws (see below) it keeps you reading. If it was a dead tree book I’d call it a page turner.

  2. It’s well enough written to pass muster in a printed book I’ve paid for let alone free on the web.

  3. The character of David seems real and so does his family and the other human characters. Given that this is a novella and there’s not much space for character development showing this is good.

  4. It’s a novella and thus won’t eat your valuable time should you decide to read it.

  5. It’s free – and during the recession finding reasonable quality fiction for free is awesome.

Problems:

  1. Sometimes it moves a little too fast. Subplots were neglected and things raised never to be completed as a result. It feels almost like it’s a novel squashed down into a novella.

  2. The antagonists get short shrift in the character development stakes. The two primary antagonists have motives that are purely selfish and the big bad barely makes an appearance. I like my antagonists interesting and these just weren’t. Now, as I said above it’s a novella – there’s not much space for character development. But he managed it with the protagonist and his family, which just makes the lack here more noticible. It’s another thing that makes this feel too short.

  3. but the biggest problem with it is what happens after the antagonists have been dispatched. A. M. Harte is right to say it has a bit of a deus ex feeling to it. If you disliked the ending of Doctor Who (new series) season 3 then this will probably have you frothing at the mouth for many of the same reasons. It’d be even worse except that it doesn’t seem unreasonable given the revelations about the ring during the climax. I expected something similar from the moment the shit hit the fan – just not quite like it goes down.

Verdict – worth reading if you’re a young adult who likes fantasy thrillers, or an adult looking for something light and fun in that genre. Probably not for you if you love character development or really hate deus ex machina resolutions – even when they’ve been somewhat foreshadowed.

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