Nov 27, 2014
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Shu’Alu: Dragons Will Weep

By L. B. Conahan

Rating:  star star star star star 

IR Verdict:

Book Reviews, eBooks, Fantasy, Fiction  •  Feb 26, 2013

Princess Saraceirra, the part-human heiress of the kingdom of Shakuvia (extending over both land and sea), is orphaned when the evil cat-woman Empress Mei sends her armies of dark elves to attack Sara’s mother’s palace. As the new Queen, she must work with the Freedom Prophet and demigod Arielous, her destined true love (if they can ever work out their feelings for each other), his fairy companion Rosy, the phoenix Avalon, and a host of other magical, supernatural, and/or otherworldly beings to win back her throne and defeat the evil that threatens. However, Arie’s prophecies foretell a disturbing fate for Queen Sara – can she defeat the dangers in her future to reclaim her kingdom and her love?

The world is richly imagined and full of lively characters. There is no lack of variety, as the plot travels from fairytale mer-castles to crowded cities with shopping malls and pickup trucks to the hall of the Gods themselves. The author plucks figures from mythology and legend to add color and personality to the story.

However, first and foremost, the book needs an editor very badly. The grammar, spelling, word choices, and punctuation all need substantial correction in order to make the book more readable. Additionally, the choice of colloquial language for the characters’ dialogue (even descending to textspeak in places, as in the use of “ur” for “your”) is somewhat out of place. It is, for instance, somewhat jarring when a demigod with immense power, seeking to save a world from destruction, responds to an inquiry with “Yeah, that sucked,” or refers to one of his numerous girlfriends, including the Queen herself, as “baby-pretty.” The book’s perspective on emotions and relationships seems frankly adolescent, with a new improbably beautiful woman appearing every few pages to either have an affair with or reminisce about an affair with Arie. Settings change with dizzying and sometimes confusing speed, and the characters’ emotions seem to change just as drastically and inexplicably as well. Chapter headings and the back cover would be improved if they were more concise, and suggested more than they explained.

The author has the imagination and creativity to build an intricate, lush, and complicated world – however, the writing needs a good editor, and more attention to intellectual and emotional depth and perspective, in order to make that world live.

Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader