Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards reviews

I got through to the quarterfinals on the strength of two reviews from Amazon Vine reviewers.  Here they are, warts and all.  I am so proud I could bust something.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The humor was definitely the strongest aspect for me. Lines like, “A demon’s not just for Christmas, you know,” and Scarth making “the sort of mess it normally takes six college students an evening to make” made the piece very amusing to read.  
The back and forth between Paul and Scarth is quite good as well, as Paul goes between the roles of exasperated parent (““Do you want me to use the invocation, Scarth? Do you?”) and a frustrated young man (“He should have held out for a succubus, but it was too late now..”). 
I also liked the prose style. The author gives enough detail so that the reader can picture the events and the story flows well. It’s a good mix of dialogue and description. 
The work makes me think a bit of Neil Gaiman – the juxtaposition of the everyday (“level two support desk technicians”) with the fantastic (demons and “Lord Roath of the Inner Circle of Pain, Destroyer of Peace, Crusher of Souls.”)

What aspect needs the most work?

At times, the humor drifts too far into absurdity, at least for my taste. I like the idea of a normal(ish) young man, probably bored with his life, conjuring up and then dealing with a demon. The concept is a funny one and there are a great number of humorous situations possible.  
But when the demon’s main talent is “the ability to fart a single note for ninety seconds solid” and a priest (albeit and young and hip one) uses the words “crap” and “ass” within a few minutes of meeting a new person, then I think the bar has been lowered a bit. Farce is funny and takes great talent to do well – vulgarity does not.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I enjoyed this piece and think there is potential for a good story. It’s easy and enjoyable to read, and even though Scarth seems sort of an out of the box demon (at least in this short bit) – I like the character of Paul and the cameo by Lord Roath was very well done. I would very much like to see how he figures into the novel. Something about him grabbed my fancy and I am hoping this appearance was the first of many.  
I think the bit with the priest needs a bit of work. I found it unbelievable that he would use the language he did and that Paul would then turn around and use the f-word back to him. Paul may not be Catholic but I think there are very few people who might use that word to a priest – especially one they are trying to get help from. The priest being a film buff is good – as are the movie quotes – but I think it can be clear that he is a different sort of priest than the stereotypical “middle-aged to old, with an old-fashioned outlook” without crossing the line. 
It’s difficult with only this limited view of the work as a whole to say for sure, but I am hoping there is more action between the time Scarth first arrives and the scene with the priest. There must be more anecdotes than just the photocopier incident with Lauryn…some daily life things. Where does the demon sleep, how does Paul shower/eat/sleep with him around? 
I think the concept is ripe with potential and I enjoyed reading this excerpt.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The author creates amazing, vivid characters that are incredibly fun to read about. From the very first bit of dialog, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about how these characters were, what they wanted, and what was going to happen to them next. Something about the honest way they speak -I can easily hear it all out loud in my head and it seems like normal exchanges of dialog that real people would have. Very witty and fun -almost reminded me of Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan!

What aspect needs the most work?

Details and settings. I feel as though the author does a great job with pacing, character and dialog, but neglects the setting a little too much. For the majority of this excerpt I found myself wondering where the characters were -what does the world around them look like? What do the characters themselves look like? These items are touched upon at points, but I really wanted to see more of this world that just seems so fascinating.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I really enjoyed this. I was immediately pull into the universe of these characters, had an instant liking to them, and wanted to know what happened next. The author truly had my attention for every bit of this, and it was great. So much fun to read. 
However, it could still use a little more. I would have liked to have seen a little more definitive world-building early on in the excerpt so that I could get a better understanding of what type of setting we were in.


About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

One Response to Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards reviews

  1. So proud!!! Well done you! xx

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