Review: Mud by E. J. Wenstrom

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Publisher: City Owl

Publishing Date: march 2016

ISBN:9780986251665

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.8/5

Publishers Description: Trapped by his Maker’s command to protect a mysterious box, Adem is forced to kill anyone who tries to steal it. When a young boy chances upon Adem’s temple, he resists temptation, intriguing the golem. As the boy and his sister convince Adem to leave the refuge of his temple, the group lands in a web of trouble.

Review: Contrary to the publishers description, Adem is not convinced to leave the temple but rather is concerned for the boy and his sister while observing their lives. 

Adem is a Golem, a being made from matter (Mud) by magic to do the bidding of its maker. Adem whiles away the centuries in seclusion at the fringes of society, fearing when he might have to kill again when compelled.

When I started reading this, the internal dialogue of Adem was decidedly female. So having settled that, I was surprised to find that later in the novel, Adem was male. The patterned responses and emotive directives to others that “he” cares about it is really quite feminine.

This novel was almost entirely internal dialogue. While I am known to detest novels that ride that certain pony, in this case it works. Adem is lonely and secluded with only his thoughts as company so it stands to reason that he processes everything internally without outside direction or experience. This almost infant quality of relating to humans or understanding their needs becomes apparent when he leaves the comfort of the Temple and begins a quest to bring a lost soul back from the underworld.  I wasn’t a big fan of the story line shift from Adem protecting the box to the underworld trek to claim a lost soul. But the story line has to go somewhere and that movement continues to develop Adem as a character. The supporting characters seemed to lack depth as there was not a lot of time invested in their development.  There is never a real clear understanding of why there were Realm Wars and what is gained by having one. Additionally who would care and why?

Mud is a pretty dam good first novel but lacks some refinement in character development and phrasing overuse (growled being prominent). The latter half of the novel got mired in internal dialogue so much that it detracted from the story line and the movement suffered as a consequence. kind of like trying to kick start a dead motorcycle that was running perfectly a few minutes before.

Mud is a rather myopic and egocentric journey of one character and his quest for a soul of his own that to me, he already has.

 

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