Saffron Honey

Saffron Honey

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In Dying Starlight: A Cyborg Sci-Fi Adventure

If you like found family tropes and science fiction, give In Dying Starlight a chance and you won't regret it! The landscapes are surreal and the characters are believable - and now I want a talking badger for a friend!

Style: Simple and effective. I enjoy the way that everything is written as if the main character is narrating what's going on; it's a really good way to put the reader in his head, and give them a clear, sharp, concise picture of the situation, without bogging down the story by dwelling overmuch on details about his "enhancements." To me it reads so quickly and precisely - almost like a camera zooming in and quick-panning around the room - that the author hardly ever needs to remind the reader he's a cyborg.

Grammar: Caught one or two typos, but otherwise flawless! Couldn't decide between 4 1/2 or 5, but concluded that it is definitely worthy of 5 stars; even traditionally published books have a few of those.

Story: I can't remember which chapter I left off on but so far the story has been fascinating, with the promise of some really interesting character dynamics to come.

Character Score: 11/10, I would give this more stars if I could; incredibly likable characters that fly off the page.


The Painter: A fantasy psych thriller and epic

My life is pretty chaotic and busy, so in the interest of actually being able to rate a fiction which deserves to be seen, I'm reviewing based on a handful of chapters rather than the entire story, which will take me considerably longer to read and comprehend.

Hope this is a good first review! I've done my best to give a proper explanation for my star ratings.

I was invited to partake in a swap if I chose, but nothing was expected of me other than to give it a chance (which I highly recommend doing); so this review is my honest opinion of the first few chapters!

MY OVERALL FIRST IMPRESSIONS...

STYLE SCORE: 

For a first book, the style is already laid out in surprisingly detailed strokes... The groundwork is solid, and the influences here are definitely traditional fiction rather than Progression Fantasy or LitRPGs. This works in the story's favor; it's a slow build, but an intruiging one as the pieces fall into place, which is necessary to establish our character's backstory and personality.

It's never difficult to picture where our hero is, or whom he is speaking to. The characters that are established here are particularly interesting, and not even the shopkeepers (one scene so far) are overlooked.

Overall, the style is more established than other fictions I have read so far on this platform. 5 stars.

GRAMMAR SCORE:

I found some things that could be improved, which I commented on, but fewer and fewer as the story progressed. Went back and forth between a few ratings. Settled on 3 and 1/2 stars, and probably only because I notice these things more than the average reader!

STORY SCORE:

The attention to detail is remarkable. I will say this is not my usual fare even in the realm of traditional fiction, but I do prefer stories with slow builds, and Banner Caygeon clearly does as well - this author knows what makes a story work, and are still refining their craft!

It's impossible to judge this without reading a story from beginning to end, but I have to give it a rating, so it's a solid 5 stars for now: I am intrigued and want our hero to succeed.

CHARACTER SCORE:

What can I say, except that this protagonist has enchanted me? He's brooding, but not sulking or annoying. There's something about him which is truly relatable, in spite (or perhaps because of) his flaws.

OVERALL SCORE: Rounded up to 4 1/2 stars! Add it to your TBR if you like psychological thrillers, traditional storytelling, or brooding (yet fascinating) MCs!