Friday, June 1, 2012
"Masters of the Veil" by Daniel Cohen
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
From Goodreads: "Life can't get much better for Sam Lock. Popular, good-looking, and with a future as a professional football player. every guy at Stanton High School wishes he were Sam. That is, until his championship football game, when Sam accidentally links with an ancient source of energy known as the Veil and reveals his potential to become a powerful sorcerer. Sam is whisked off to Atlas Crown, a community of sorcerers who utilize the Veil as a part of everyday life. Once there, he trains beside a mute boy who speaks through music, an eternal sage who's the eyes and ears of the Veil, and a beautiful girl who's pretty sure Sam's an idiot. As it becomes clear Sam's meant for power magic-the most feared and misunderstood form of sorcery-people beyond Atlas Crown learn of his dangerous potential. An exiled group of power sorcerers are eager to recruit Sam, believing that he is destined to help them achieve their long-held goal. If they succeed, they could bring about the downfall of not only Atlas Crown. but all humankind."
I am the sort of person who can finish at least one book a day- once I start a book it is near impossible to tear me away from it, essentially I will neglect EVERYTHING once I start reading a book. Furthermore, it is EXTREMELY uncommon for me to not finish a book (since I started reviewing books, almost two years ago, I have read and reviewed EVERY book which has come my way- in fact, I can't recall the last DNF I had). So how do those little facts relate to this book? This book was BY FAR the biggest struggle I have experienced since I started blogging- with every fiber of my being I wanted to not finish this book but I forced myself to (in all honesty I only finished it because I requested the book from the publisher and I would have felt guilty for not having read and reviewed it). This book took me almost two months to finish as I could only read ten or so pages before I would become overwhelmed and would have to set it down for the day. There were a large accumulation of reasons why I struggled so much with this book which I will elaborate upon below.
I must admit that I never fully understood what people meant when they said that in a book an author "showed rather than told", that is, until I read this book. I found the writing of this book to be too, "He did this and then he did this and then he did this", there to be very little description and depth to the dialogue and little to no emotion to the storyline of the book, nor the characters. I never experienced that heart-pounding feeling you get when one of a book's characters is about to experience something horrific or that "Awwwwwww" moment when two characters you have been rooting for the entire novel FINALLY come together- essentially everything was EXTREMELY flat and one-dimensional.
Furthermore, I found all of the characters to be quite undeveloped- after reading the book I don't feel like I truly know any of them. What I do know is that the main character, Sam, and the love interest, Daphne, are quite unlikeable- Sam being not only quite close-minded but oblivious and gullible the entire novel and Daphne who, in my opinion, showed very few, if any, redeeming qualities (I am seriously baffled by what Sam saw in her. Oh wait, her looks. But seriously, can looks balance out being a big booger?).
And as for the storyline itself, I found that there was WAY too much stuff going on (someone asked me to describe this book to them and I told them that it was "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" meets "Harry Potter". On acid)- from the zigzag trees, which moved when people walked by them, to the echo flies, which mimicked a person physically and determined their worthiness, to gumptius, a game not unlike arm wrestling, though which magic is used, to baubles which would come out of a fish's mouth to be used as mouth wash, to sheep-like creatures whose wool would be consumed not unlike cotton candy- plus all of the magical stuff going on like the Veil, second-skins, etc.That being said, I do applaud author Daniel Cohen for his originality- as become evident from the aforementioned examples he has one of the most creative minds I have encountered in quite some time.
All in all, while I REALLY wanted to like this book, I was unable to. Furthermore, I unfortunately will not be continuing on with this series (which is uncharacteristic of me as I am the sort of person who NEEDS to finish a series, no matter how much I may dislike myself for doing so *Cough, cough, "House of Night" series and "Morganville Vampires"). That being said, if you are looking for a book that which has amazing world-building then this might be right up your alley!
I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.