The First Five Days: of The Lionean Saga
by John O. and Archie A.
Review by Barry Boy
I was given The First Five Days: of The Lionean Saga by John O. and Archie A. in exchange for an honest review.
Lionea is an island kingdom that was created by an outsider by beating the local tribesmen in one way and another. However, the first five days mentioned in the title of the novel does not refer the the very first five days of the new kingdom, but to the first five days of one of the rulers way down the line.
It seems that some unknown force is bumping off Lionea’s rulers and the main storyline of this novel is to find out who is responsible and to put an end to it. There are many sub-plots, and different aspects of the story are told by various people from their own personal perspective, which is interesting.
The major task for me, especially at the beginning, was to remember all the different names, and their sexes. This is mainly because no convention is used (such as female names ending in ‘a’). Then there are also all the new professions, ranks and place names. It read like Genesis for names!
I was well into the book before I even began to get a handle on all the names, ranks and what-have-you. That slowed the pace of the story to ‘boring’ in parts for me. Someone more used to reading this genre of fiction would cope with it far better than I… I imagine.
I cannot see that this book has been professionally edited. I saw many transitive verbs used intransitively and vice-versa, although I don’t know whether this was a mistake or an attempt to make the language sound otherworldly: (“… mount the bodies onto the chariot…” instead of ‘put’). It didn’t work for me, whatever the reason. Nor did the tautology and verbosity. If there was a long or a short way of saying something, they chose the long way and then added a bit for good luck. For example:
“… standing erect to his full height…”.
“… strewn with the corpses of three horses…” – surely, ‘strewn’ means much more than three!
I have dozens of weird ‘mistakes’ in my notes, but I will only mention here that: ‘amble’ and ‘walk’ are not synonyms; nor are ‘write’ and ‘scribble’… and one cannot be born with a ‘carefully sculped nose’!
All in all, it is a brave story to attempt, and it is told well. However, for me, there is just too much deviance from accepted English usage, and too many names, titles and professions to learn.