Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: The Darkest Tool by Gerald Barnes

Recently, I read The Darkest Tool by Gerald Barnes. You can find it here on Amazon. I read it on my Kindle. I left a review, but I wanted to go into more detail (which is difficult to do on a Kindle).

Story Review: This isn't a word-for-word repeat of my review on Amazon, but it's probably close. When you read many of the other reviews on Amazon, you'll notice that some complain about the slow pace of the book. That's simply not true. It's well paced and told in detail by the two main characters. The first main character is a human teenager named Jonathan Night. The second main character is his demon guardian (yes, really - no I really haven't started drinking yet) Arioch.

The story is broken down into "Parts" and it rotates with the characters. There's very little about the story that I didn't enjoy. As a pagan, I was surprised and pleased that the Goddess is written in. Let's face it, it really doesn't make much sense to have a God that's a single parent. I mean...if that were okay, then why would the Christian God need Mary to have Jesus when He made Adam and Eve just fine? Anyway...writing in the Goddess was a nice touch. The only issue I took with it (and it's not that big of a deal - as a writer...I understand that we all write from a certain point of view or what to construct a certain world in the heads of our readers) is that she was essentially unapproachable. From a Wiccan standpoint, that's not true...but I can see why it was written in that fashion and I think it was an excellent decision.

The story is easy to follow and the reader can keep up with the impending psychological break (spoiler alert) of the main character. As a reader, you find yourself filled with compassion and a nagging sense to reach through the book and slap him. Maybe that's just me. I have a 16 year old son and I graduated high school in the 90s. So, I wanted to smack the main character.

You'll also find yourself enamored with Arioch. I absolutely love the way that Barnes wrote about the downfall of one-third of the angels. It was a beautiful story. Honestly, I think that was my favorite part of the whole book. It's descriptive and it's easy to really find yourself witnessing this part of the story.

I will admit that I did get a little confused toward the end of the book. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on (I won't ruin it for you). As a reader, I felt a little frustrated because although we want suspense, we don't want to get frustrated.

Overall, the story was excellent. I would definitely pick up any author written by Gerald Barnes. He now has a fan for life. I've recommended it to many of my friends who love to read.

Writing Style: There were several sentences that were poorly structured. It wasn't enough to detract from the essence of the story, but other writers might find that distracting. Don't let that (or the wayward placement of commas) stop you from reading or finishing this book. You'd really miss out on a spectacular story.

I think some of the confusion toward the end of the book could have been avoided with another round of editing and revision. However if I were Barnes, I would not base the need to revise based off of the opinion of one reader (me). I would only attempt the revision if multiple people complained about feeling overly confused at that point of the book.

Barnes' writing style is clear and highly descriptive. His style makes it easy to get lost in the book. It's a friendly style, but it's also clear that he is a gifted writer.

I hope he does another book. I'd love to read a sequel.

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