Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Would You Read On? hosted by Diana Flegal

Welcome to our Wednesday edition of Would You Read On?. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to stop by our blog.

Kindly comment if you would read on or return this book back to the shelf. Last weeks contributing author is revealed below this first page.

Would You Read On?

First Page:

Michael clenched the hilt of his sworda weapon that had known only defeat.

In mounted flight, he dodged a scimitar, then veered to escape the slash of another. A pair of Centaurs flew toward him, cutting him off. Jerking the reins, Michael swerved, barely missing their curved blades.

A foray of Malakim and Centaurs filled the air above the forest of Shamayim. Whether on the ground, or in flight, the Malakim were disadvantaged, for the Centaurs were both larger and stronger, and not impeded by the head and neck of a horse.

Michael’s sword plunged through the chest of the closest Centaur. The creature’s body went rigida temporary happenstance of being skewered by an opponent’s sword.

Before Michael had time to relish his triumph, several more attacked in response to the felling of their comrade.

Perhaps you could you use a hand.”

Michael turned to the voice to see his fellow lieutenant, Mardikel, fighting at his side.

On the contrary, I enjoy lone skirmishes against our scorpion-tailed, winged-equestrian opponents.”

The words no sooner left his lips, than he impaled a Centaur coming to his right. He whirled in response to a deafening clang of steel to his left to realize Mardikel had just parried a blow that would surely have sent him not-so-gracefully flitting to the ground in rigid descent.

Michael barely had time to dip his head in thanks, before defending against the onslaught of several more Centaurs.

If we don’t find the flag,” Mardikel shouted above the angry flapping of wings, “we’ll have to answer to the commander for breaking rank.”

Ah, but imagine if we do,” Michael said, retrieving his imbedded sword from yet another Centaur.

Mardikel rolled his eyes. “As though you need any more accolades from our superior officer.”

Would you read on?

Last weeks contributor was author Jody Day. Stop by Jody's blog and say hello.


Timothy Fish said...

I can see the author’s effort to draw the reader in with action. For that, they should be commended.

I would not read on. Redefining the word centaur is a minor issue, but an issue nonetheless. But my main issue is that we’ve been dropped into this scene with nothing to tell us what is at stake. Suppose both sides just give up and go home. Do I care? Suppose the Malakim defeat the centaurs. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? There’s nothing at stake in this scene.

Sarah Thomas said...

I agree with Timothy that the action is a good way to start. It troubled me, though, that the characters are having a witty conversation in the midst of a horrific battle. Really? Two against an army and they're joking? Also, I'd expect the descriptions to reflect what's happening with tight, tense language.

"Mardikel had just parried a blow that would surely have sent him not-so-gracefully flitting to the ground in rigid descent."

That takes me right out of the battle. There's good stuff here, but I think maybe the author tried to do too much at once.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Not for me. The descriptions are wordy and the names hard to say, even in silent reading.

As Tim said, we need to know what's at stake to make us empathetic to the characters. Will they get the commander's daughter as a bride if they win, or lose their home and freedom if they're defeated?

Cheryl said...

In all fairness, this isn't a genre I would regularly anyway, but Sarah makes a good point--witty banter in the middle of battle? Perhaps if they were surrounded and ready to fight they could toss it around a bit, but not in the midst of fighting.

Katherine Hyde said...

I would not read on even if this were a genre I liked, which it isn't. The language is too formal, words are misused (e.g. "foray" denotes an action, not a group of creatures), and some phrases are downright odd ("a temporary happenstance of being skewered by an opponent’s sword"). This sounds to me like a young writer who is trying too hard to sound "writerly." Just relax and use natural language, and it will come across much better!

~sharyn said...

I didn't mind it. I wouldn't read on because it's not a genre I read but I thought there were some clever ideas here. And what's wrong with witty banter in the middle of a battle? Haven't you ever seen a Die Hard movie? :-)

Also, I see a lot of stories like this in my writers group & it seems like hard-to-pronounce names are par for the course.

Timothy Fish said...

I agree with ~sharyn that, in concept, there's nothing wrong with witty banter in the middle of a battle. I also agree that odd names are typical of the genre. Evenso, the content of the banter is problematic. It is highly unlikely that Michael would describe the enemy in such detail to a man who sees the enemy in front of him. A better statement would be "On the contrary, I enjoy facing centaurs alone."

But this is no Die Hard. In Die Hard, the stakes are clear. The hero is fighting to save his marriage, and if that wasn't hard enough, he has to save the lives of a bunch of hostages to do it. The battle banter is there to give us some relief as we watch the hero deal with such heavy problems.

Having Michael draw first blood is probably not a good idea. The villain can kill for any reason or no reason at all. The hero should never kill before he is forced into it.

Anonymous said...

I would keep going if it were my kind of read, which it isn't. I see real talent and a gift for comic relief...just not in that spot. It was a bit too early for that. Need more of the story set up first.Yet I see a good tale if you use less complicated names but then maybe I'm just too old school for this kind of story.