Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:
Merlin’s Message: The Journey Home
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Reviewer: Marty Shaw
I love Greek mythology and stories about Merlin the Magician, so I should have loved a book that brought those two elements together. However, “Merlin’s Message: The Journey Home” seemed to suffer from having more pages than useful content to fill those pages.
The premise is excellent. A young boy named Michael sets off on a journey to the New World with his mother and step-father. It should be a fun adventure for Michael except for the facts that his mother appears to be suffering from a strange illness and his step-father seems to have something to do with it. On the journey, Michael learns a lot about Zeus, Poseidon, and other gods and goddesses from a mysterious and friendly sailor named Muldoon. Unfortunately, for the reader, this ocean-going trip lasts a lot longer than it needs to. There’s a lot of pages where the ship goes nowhere because of the lack of wind and we’re treated to many moments of Michael questioning if his reality is real or imagined, expressing how much he enjoys Muldoon’s stories, and thinking about how much he despises his step-father. There are a few interesting parts tucked within these scenes, but there’s only so much action you can squeeze from a ship sitting still on the water.
Eventually, a storm allows the story to progress past this stalled moment and Michael’s adventure truly begins as he explores a wondrous island filled with faeries, nymphs, talking trees and stones, and paths that seem to appear and disappear on their own. Again, it seems like space had to be wasted just to fill a certain number of pages because Michael suddenly becomes what has to be the densest main character that has ever existed. One moment, he’s discovering that he wields incredible powers, but then he gets scared when the sun goes down. He’s told time and time again that evil or fearful thoughts will summon creatures from his nightmares that will make his journey more difficult, so he immediately begins to imagine various assortments of creatures in the forest that want to kill him. I can understand these moments happening early on, but once that point of change occurs, it just seems awkward to take the main character back a few steps. Even after Michael sees for himself that he truly holds awesome power and is in control of what he faces while on the island, he still cowers and whimpers way too much.
I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy “Merlin’s Message: The Journey Home,” but there was too much book for the actual story that was contained within.