The First Pillar by Roy Huff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Owen Sage has been anticipating his first year at Easton Falls University. What he did not expect was to be drawn into another dimension, where he alone can help save Everville from destruction.
The thing with The First Pillar is that Roy Huff has so much background to tell you that he does it in huge info dumps which often don't seem to fit into the flow of the story.
Add that to the fact that The First Pillar is written in the first person and it feels like this Owen Sage is a huge know-it-all. (He even knows what his friends are thinking and feeling!)
There's a certain lack of polish and awkwardness to the writing, which may appeal to younger, more American audiences. It feels as if there's more to this story, there's more that can be really fleshed out, but Huff didn't bother to expand the scenes. Everything feels short and rushed as if you need to hurtle your way through the book to the end.
The idea behind the book was interesting though, and I would have liked it better if it didn't feel so lacklustre and contrived.
The City of Worms by Roy Huff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
In City of Worms, the second installment of the Everville series, an epic battle over ownership of the element has begun. Them seeks to subvert the worms and use the power they channel to take control of Everville. The Keeper gathers the other Keepers and different races in the 8 related dimensions around Everville to stop Them. Once again, Owen must work, both with Everville and his friends in the Echo Club, to help save Everville.
In this second book, Huff uses the third person narrative, so the awkwardness of the first-person doesn't arise anymore. However, it still feels as if he is rushing people through the story. The pacing is often awkward, as is the phrasing (especially when he talks about Them) and there are still a gazillion info dumps that don't fit into the flow of the narrative.
The relationship between Owen and his friends feel rather simplistic at times, and it doesn't feel as if there is any proper character development. Each person does and says the things he (or she) is supposed to, but it feels very shallow. I guess it's still a lot of "telling" in the narrative - rather than showing the actions and the deliberations behind those actions, Huff often just tells you why they did it.
The final test at the Second Pillar was just - what? Felt like Huff needed there to be some kind of moral teaching (after all, each pillar has a moral lesson) but I felt it could have been better thought out.
The Rise of Mallory by Roy Huff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Since the last battle in Everville, Mallory, a Fron turned evil, plots to hoard all the power from the element for himself by harnessing the goodwill of the newly hatched dragon, Rathlar, and initiating an inter-universe war between the Alarians and the inhabitants Everville. Owen faces his toughest task yet and struggles to complete it even whilst his friends are being decimated by the Alarians.
I think The Rise of Mallory was better written than the first two (maybe because of experience?). A few typos noted - I think he'll probably fix this? Anyway, this could be an early copy since I borrowed it on Kindle Prime (free trial! ha!).
The story is more complex and Huff manages to weave most of the seemingly loose ends from The First Pillar and The City of Worms. However, in usual form, Huff messes up the narrative through excessive info dumps, taking you back and forth over the material a few times. I don't know why he can't do a slow reveal of some of these "secrets" through conversations or over several chapters rather than telling you "this and that" happened in one chapter and then a chapter later someone confirms "yes, it really happened".
There's some time jumps back and forth due to the nature of Owen's task too - and while it was interesting (life as an Alarian!) I felt that it was a little under-developed. I mean, he could have done SO MUCH MORE with it.
At any rate, I think this rates about a 2.5 stars. Hopefully the next one gets better.
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