My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


ILLBORN ILLBORN by Daniel T. Jackson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The concept here was pretty interesting and the back-cover blurb was good enough to hook me. For a debut novel, it was not too bad … but it was not very good either. The opening scene starts with an encounter between a priest/witch hunter and a child with mysterious abilities that apparently are something of a threat to the established church (which is a dead ringer for the Catholic Church with a mashup of inquisition and crusades). What this threat is remains a mystery for the entire story (why are they hunted as heretics) … in fact … I can’t really identify what the main plot conflict actually is, other than 4 POV just trying to survive the world trying to kill them (and we never find out why; although they are apparently linked by a recurring dream that the author felt needed to be repeated nearly word for word ad nauseam). Without an identifiable plot conflict, you can’t really expect any resolution at the end right … which is what you get; a story that just sort of ends with just as many questions as it started with … except all the pieces have been moved on the board a little.

I had a tough time connecting to any of the four (4) main characters … they, just like the supporting characters, seemed pretty one dimensional and interactions too mechanical to make them natural or realistic. In fact, the only one to which I had any interest in was the priestess … just barely. The powers themselves were interesting, but they were revealed rather awkwardly with very little nuance or finesse (and they started to overlap toward the end … which for some reason didn’t seem right). There is potential for a great story in the guts of this story, it just hasn’t been fleshed out very well yet.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ILLBORN #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.