Review: Martyr by A.R. Kahler

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Publisher: Spencer Hill

Publishing Date: October 2014

ISBN: 9781939392220 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

 

Publisher Description: Three years have passed since magic destroyed the world.
Those who remain struggle to survive the monsters roaming the streets, fighting back with steel and magic—the very weapons that birthed the Howls in the first place.
Tenn is one such Hunter, a boy with the ability to harness the elements through ancient runes. For years, the Hunters have used this magic to keep the monsters at bay, but it’s never been enough to truly win the war. Humans are losing.  When Tenn falls prey to an incubus named Tomás and his terrifying Kin, Tenn learns there’s more to this than a fight for survival. He’s a pawn in a bigger game, one with devastating consequences. If he doesn’t play his part, it could cost him his life, his lover and his world. 

 Review:  Tenn is Speshul. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is about Tenn. How Tenn is feeling, what Tenn is doing etc. Additionally, in order to answer the “who and what” is impossible unless you’re everyone else but Tenn. In Tenn’s quest to find, er…search for…himself, he and his little band of kids fight all kinds of evil thingies while conveniently finding refuge in parallel worlds and a forest full of douches witches.

Usually in fantasy quest type novels there is a specific thing (amulet, stones etc.) or a specific place (The Hobbit adventures etc.) that the characters seek to find. This makes the quest tangible (goal oriented) while building the characters in transit. It also creates a menagerie of possibilities that tend to be more linear. In Martyr, events occur in random fashion. There is no linear progression (point A to B to C to A) that involves the reader. When there are random situational events in terms of scene progression, it is hard to build empathy for the characters as they tend to languish in their own emotions. The reason for this is that dialogue is used in place of movement to develop the characters. So Tenn becomes myopic and self-absorbed with reams of inner dialogue while external characters are used to bolster that development with faith/sympathy. Ultimately, Tenn develops into a whiney character that is in constant dis-belief about his entire situation. He also clearly exhibits this stunted sense of self awareness.  Every scene drags as there is never any sense of “becoming”, only more negative introspection.

I thought that this was a great story line and good writing. It just got mired in dialogue in order to develop the characters and lacked progression in terms of movement. I can understand why one reviewer gave this a DNF. At times it was hard to wade through. Even when the scene started clipping along and you found new interest…boom, the character would all of a sudden lose consciousness or find himself struggling with dreams or containing his water power or crying for his lost love or self-recriminations and guilt or………..Anyway, this might still be a great series (if it goes in that direction) and the characters evolve with the story line.

 

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