Review by Lyric Goins
I received the copy of Twenty-Six Roses from an author who had actually overheard the conversation my co-taverneer and I had with an author next to her. She was soft-spoken but very kind, and was offering her novel for free during the weekend of Gen Con. Naturally I accepted her offer, and told her we would review her work as soon as possible while giving her our website information.
After Gen Con, I nearly forgot about the time constraint of the download and got the book as soon as I remembered it. Nearly right away I began reading it. The intro was catching and the writing was that of a made-for-teen novel. I hadn’t seen the cover right away, but I, who loves fantasy stories, would have picked the book up on the shelf for its storybook-like appearance.
Before I knew it, I was already three chapters in. I had stayed up late reading it and didn’t even realize it. The main character was different and intriguing; a protective older sister who had just lost her father, going through the rough time of moving to an entirely new place. Her experiences were described with what I thought were appropriate reactions: what I thought was weird, she did too; what I thought was funny, she laughed, and so on. I could relate to the main character, though she was five years younger than me. I was sympathetic, and got into the story very quickly.
After those first three chapters of blazing through the book, it only took me three days to finish it. Not because I was having a hard time reading, but while I was reading I had to do other things. If I had had a choice, I would’ve never left the digital pages for a second. While I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about it. What would happen next? What was Vargas, another character from the strange land she had stumbled into? What was that world exactly? Who were those people? Who was the past Keeper? I would go back and read, and while some of my questions were answered, some were left unsaid; a mystery unsolved for the reader to continue thinking about, instead of a plot point uncovered. I really enjoyed the questions and enjoyed thinking about it. The cliffhangers weren’t frustrating and I never had to step away from it from boredom or aggravation.
As to not give anything away, my only displeasure was the ending. Not because it was bad, but because it had to end. I felt like some of my questions could have been answered without spoiling the mystery of the book, such as what was that world and what other aspects of that world were there. Surely an explanation of the past Keeper and her relationship to that plane could’ve afforded some sort of clarification. One other thing I noticed was sometimes there were grammar or spelling errors that stared blatantly at me, but at the same time, they were mistakes an author could easily miss, such as a misplaced ‘s’ or a comma instead of a semicolon. Out of the entire book, I can only remember three mistakes, and that is a proud point to state.
In my humble opinion, I would be more than excited to hear there was a sequel and would put money forward to a hardback edition to show proudly on my shelf. This is a book I would love to read my children one day. It has a variety of fantasy work, and would let any child’s mind wander into their own adventures. It has a wonderful love story alongside the main adventure, but it’s not rushed or strained; it happens so naturally you actually want the love to happen instead of thinking, “Oh, another love story. How cliché.” This story could be for adults who want a simple fantasy story to read in their free time, or for children in schools who need some sort of imaginary lesson. Out of the Dwarven Tavern scale of four axes, I would give this book 3.7 axes. The .3 is due to the dissatisfaction of an ending somewhat lacking, and also those unfortunate grammatical errors. With those fixed and a sequel in promise, that is the most perfect score I could give it. It’s been a while since I truly enjoyed a book, and I was very happy to read this one. I’d read it again any day, and I think everyone should check it out.
You can read Twenty-Six Roses at http://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Six-Roses-Tamara-Vann/dp/1478131489/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379786074&sr=1-1&keywords=twenty-six+roses. Please support the author Tamara Vann and read this book! It’s definitely worth the cost!