I had the opportunity to review the story Red Leaves and the Living Token, by Benjamin David Burrell. It's a good story with a lot of potential. It is the first in what appears to be a series of three.
The story is a about a man named Raj, and his son, Emret, who is in a hospital for a disease that is threatening his life. It's much like you would see with young cancer patients in our world. In this world, there are three main races of people, the Petra, Zo, and the Botan. It seems to be like our modern world in many ways. Then again it seems old fashioned at times as well. Emret is desperate to find a cure, and will do anything to find it. Raj, on the other hand, is a very protective parent in hopes of a medical breakthrough. When Emret disappears from the hospital with his favorite nurse in search of a legendary cure, Raj is out of his mind in order to get his dying son back safely. In the interest of not spoiling the story, I will stop there.
As I said before, this story has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to it. From a fantasy aspect, it's nothing I would call typical, which is a good thing. The bad thing was how underdeveloped the setting was and the background aspect of things. I'm not sure if that is coming across correctly. What I mean is how the three main races were never really described at all, and I felt as if I was imagining the characters incorrectly. Correction, I was. I found myself picturing them as regular humans. A little more background information and/or description of them would have helped considerably.
Another detriment to the book was the obvious lack of editing. I often found spelling and grammar mistakes. Some were so obvious that I wasn't sure if it was edited at all. I find this to be a common theme among indie authors, and I assume it's mostly caused by financial restraint or just knowing someone who is qualified to lend a hand in proofreading. However, there is no need for it to be as bad as it was in this story. I can understand some things being overlooked, but contend that standards still need to be met by indie authors.
What the author did do very well was getting into the emotions of the main characters, especially Raj, Emret, and Rinacht. There were some points in the story where I expected him to delve a little deeper and he didn't, yet then he would go further in unexpected spots which rounded it out nicely. To me this is one of the author's stronger aspects in his writing, and that kept me going through the book.
Overall, I am giving Red Leaves and the Living Token 3 stars. I found the story to be 'ok', everything considered. I am still undecided on whether or not to continue reading this series. However, if I do, it will be because of my curiosity about the fantasy aspect of the story, and whether or not the author improves on it.
For those of you who wish to take a look at this book for yourselves, it can be found on several ebook websites, including Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. There is also his website www.benburrell.com if you would like to learn more about the author himself.
Until next time,