First off, author Jennifer Lunde has a good voice when she tells the story. It’s very mellow and weaves the words together nicely. It’s an average length book (400 pages or so) and has a very interesting premise. Her structuring is sound, and this is a good novel for the literary minded fantasy reader. Which, of course, means I am the last person you want to review your articulate piece of fantastical literature.
Pulse starts off well enough, with the young prince Vettar sleepwalking through the castle once again. This time, though, he is about to plunge to his death when his older sister grabs him before he can fall out the window. She chides him and carries him to his room, while he complains that he doesn’t need to be carried. This coming from the kid who just about walked out of a fifth story (or sixth?) window in the middle of the night in his sleep. It sets the tone right off the bat that Vettar is a little off while his loving sister, Eryn, is responsible and mature beyond her years. On purpose or not, I immediately drew a reference between these two and two characters from George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” series. And like the Martin series, I was hoping for a similar chain of events.
Alas, it was not to be. For Vettar is the character that we’re supposed to like and love after Eryn accidentally, well, destroys her entire city. The whiny, complaining Vettar is the hero. The mature, caring and wise sister is a mass murderer. This novel could go places, I thought as I settled into my chair and continued onwards.
The author, Ms Lunde? She don’t mess around and she definitely is avoiding all the common fantasy tropes which drive me crazy.
I am pleased so far.
The story picks back up about sometime later in the future (I think, this part was a little weird for me), though for Vettar no time seems to have passed. I’m not certain whether that time has moved on and Vettar is still the same age, or he remains mentally a child while his body has aged. It really isn’t explained well until much later, though his behavior towards his next “friend” and guardian, Iena, lends one to think that he is still a little boy of body and mind. It is here when the story more or less lost me.
In epic fantasy adventures there should be rules. If you have read my reviews before, you know my personal rules for writing fantasy. Call them the “Three Rules of A Highly Unsuccessful Fantasy Writer”. They are:
- 1- Do NOT have a “boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl, boy fights evil wizard and saves girl and becomes king” plot. I will shoot you in the face with a shovel if you use this plot.
- 2- Do NOT make the names so hard to pronounce that it smacks the reader in the face and kills the momentum of the book. Bricks at dawn is my weapon and time of choice for the duel should you break this rule.
- 3- Do NOT make a world so gigantic that it threatens to dominate the story. Face it, you are not Tolkien. You don’t need to be. Be yourself, or I’ll force you to watch the animated tale of The Hobbit over and over again until your eyes bleed.
There, rules established. Those aren’t hard rules to follow. For the most part, the majority of entertaining and successful fantasy writers avoid these mistakes.
Unfortunately, Ms Lunde hits Every… Single… One.
So the story sort of gets weird at this point. I’m no longer sure what the plot is, but it’s there, feeding me a beautifully written… thing. As I stated before, her voice and tone are wonderful. But I found myself not giving a crap about any of her characters except Vettar, and he disappears for long lengths of the novel.
Wait, you ask. He’s not the main character?
Frack me, you mutter.
My sentiments exactly.
Already somewhat emotionally invested in Vettar, we are forced to watch Iena traverse through the desert blindly while trying to find Vettar and save him from the enemy. Which one? Well, there’s a lot of enemies because for some reason, everyone dies or is the villain in this book. Death, destruction, carnage and mayhem in the flowing, mellow, soothing tone of voice of the author.
This woman should be writing stuff like the Brother’s Grimm. I’m certain she can scare the holy crap out of anyone. This woman made me nervous and I’m the guy who has dreams about scary stuff and wakes up saying “That’d be an AWESOME movie!”.
So this book has promise, but could use a good editor. I don’t usually review a self-published book, but as I favor I agreed to. It’s not a bad book, much better than some of the crap I’ve read over the past six months. That being said, this needs a lot more polish, and I really wish I could have been drawn into the characters better. Ms. Lunde has something here, but needs to find a single character and draw the best out of him or her. So… an ebook purchase maybe, or a library check out book.
–Reviewed by Jason