Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brandon Marlowe and the Spirit Snatcher by Eric Livingston

It's hard enough being a teenage boy, let alone a teenage boy with supernatural powers derived from Gods. In ancient times, the Gods warred with the Titans. The Titans fell, but the Gods' need for power never ceased. Soon, they channeled their powers into humans, known as "Demigods," who could fight their fights for them. Brandon Marlowe is among the cherished few, but life is no easier for him than other boys.

He attends school in Tartarus, where a hidden training center exists to cater to these special children. There, Brandon is surrounded by other kids, who are raised and trained to fight the remaining evil Gods and their Demon minions. In Brandon's world, threats are always emerging, and he must be prepared. Soon, he will be ready-sent to battle, like so many before him, in a war to save the human race.

However, Brandon's troubles are much closer to home. His older brother has died, and no one knows why. As Brandon prepares to enter the massive battle of God versus man, it becomes his mission to discover the cause of his brother's death and to punish the guilty. But will his quest for vengeance get in the way of his divine battle? And will his world collapse beneath the weight of the truth?

The idea behind this book is a good one. Not a terribly original one, but a solid one that could have been built into a fun series, which I’m sure is what the author has in mind to do. The problem is that the execution, the writing itself is not up to par.
The main character, Brandon, is very plain, a bit cardboard-y, a talented kid who seems to solve everything without too much trouble. That’s the problem when you give your characters magical powers, if they can do EVERYTHING, then there is no tension to the storyline, no conflict he or she can’t resolve. It makes for a dull book.
My biggest issue was with the dialogue. Every line of it had a sentence reaffirming what the speaker just said, which made it redundant and annoying. I don’t know if the author was worried about the reader not understanding who was speaking at the time and so had to punctuate every line with an action, but it was not fun to read like that.
The book could have used with more pages. We did not get enough world-building, we got no clear sense of what Tartarus was like or what the school was truly about. It seemed like half a book instead of a whole one. I was disappointed, especially since the idea had lots of potential.
Let’s hope the next books in the series turn out better.

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