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Book Review on Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E. Feist (1 Viewer)

Creative_Insanity

Senior Member
I'm writing a book review on Talon of the Silver Hawk. . . I'd like critique if you don't mind. Be brutal, please. I really want to polish this down to perfection. If there are any unecessary words or confusing phrases, please tell me!

Thanks in advance,
Adria

PS: I don't like my title. . . do you guys think I should change it?

--

Talon of the Silver Hawk: Not So Sharp
by Adria Terrace

Running a quick Amazon search on Talon of the Silver Hawk will generate nothing but praise, but after having read the book myself, I wonder at how it all got there. How could such an incredibly mediocre book attract so many fans? It’s astonishing. I suspect mind-control.

For a long time rabid Feist fans had been pressuring me from all angles to give him a try. So, elated that I would finally be introduced to the world of Raymond E. Feist, I crammed the book into my busy reading schedule.
I was sorely disappointed. The book was remarkably unremarkable; average on all counts.

The plot was cliché. You’ve all seen it before – the classic “boy-sets-out-to-avenge-murdered-family” deal. After the slaughtering of his village, an Orosini boy named Talon of the Silver Hawk is the last of his people. He joins a secret society called the Conclave of Shadows, where he is transformed from a bumbling country lad into the sophisticated Tal Hawkins—a womanizer, nobleman, and master swordsman. In this guise, Talon faithfully serves his masters from the Conclave of Shadows, all the while quietly planning his ultimate quest of vengeance.

The events were unrealistic. “I would choose luck over skill any day” is a favorite saying of Tal Hawkins. Feist uses Talon’s unbelievable “luck” to push the story along far too often; the entire book is just an eye-brow-raisingly-tiring string of lucky escapes, miraculous recoveries, and convenient coincidences. In fact, the story even begins with luck (Talon survives a seemingly-fatal battle-wound, which, by the way, he does again about a million times in the rest of the book).

The story is horribly predictable. After Talon wiggles out of death’s grasp for the millionth time, the reader is no longer impressed by his oh-so-heroic suffering, nor are they surprised or relieved at his miraculous recovery. This takes away all the suspense in the story because we know that no matter how dangerous things get, Talon is immortal, protected by his handy-dandy “Main-Characters-Can’t-Die!”-shield.

The dialogue is unnatural, which makes for awkward reading. Things are said that no one would ever say unless it was rehearsed. Also, much of the speech is obviously contrived to impart background information to the reader; it sounds rather awkward coming from the characters’ lips.

The “romance” was ridiculous. There’s this cheap “coming-of-age-through-sex”-scene near the beginning, and doesn’t quite fit in. Talon is supposed to be an innocent young country lad at this point; it would have been against his beliefs to rush into the bed of a young girl so quickly. Yet he does. Throughout the rest of the story, Talon lies with several other girls, each time thinking that he is “in love”– until, of course, he runs into the next pretty maid. There is a lot of repetition there. It gets dull rather quickly.

The characters are all pretty stereotypical. There’s a hero with a dark past, a wise old wizard, a silent and deadly hunter, a cruel power-hungry lord, a bloodthirsty killer-for-hire . . . .

The writing was bland. What happened to the five (perhaps even six) senses? It was rare that I got to use more than one. And the action? Very repetitive. Hence, it was boring. The whole thing seemed sloppily made, as if the author didn’t bother to do much revising. The writer in me just screamed to scribble all over those pages and edit them to pieces! I’m not the most qualified writer, but I think that even I could have done that book some good.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this book. The plot was cliché, the events unrealistic, the story predictable, the dialogue unnatural, the romance cheap, the characters stereotypical, and the writing bland. Everything about it was formulaic. It seems to me that the author didn’t really care about this book; he just did what he had to do to get the job done.

(Okay, in an attempt to mollify all of Mr. Feist’s fans out there, let me say this: I do believe that Feist has a lot of talent, but in the case of Talon of the Silver Hawk, I think he was just being lazy. It isn’t an entirely bad book, just rather derivative.)

So, if you only read a few fantasy books each year, don’t waste your time on this one. But if you snap them up like potato chips, then borrow it from your local library, knowing that it won’t be impressive. That way, if nothing else, you could be like me and write a nice, scathing review on it.
 

daniela

Senior Member
This is an excellent book review. I am nitpicking here, but there are a few things that I would like to point out to you.

It’s astonishing.

In non-fiction (and anything but first person narration and dialogue) you should not use contractions. There are other contractions, but I do not want to be a pest by pointing out every single one.

For a long time rabid Feist fans had been pressuring me from all angles to give him a try.

The phrase "give _____ a try" is an overused cliché. I personally would just use "try him" or reword the sentence completely.

The book was remarkably unremarkable; average on all counts.

This was an inappropriate use of a semicolon.

...the entire book is just an eye-brow-raisingly-tiring string of lucky escapes, miraculous...

"Raisingly" just sounds wrong to me. You should use a real word here. :wink:

(Talon survives a seemingly-fatal battle-wound, which, by the way, he does again about a million times in the rest of the book).

It should be "seemingly fatal" (no dash).

Talon is immortal, protected by his handy-dandy “Main-Characters-Can’t-Die!”-shield.

You can either drop the dash or get rid of the quotation marks or slip "-shield" into the quotation marks.

Also, much of the speech is obviously contrived to impart background information to the reader; it sounds rather awkward coming from the characters’ lips.

"Also" should be replaced with "In addition" to give this piece the more formal tone that it deserves.

The characters are all pretty stereotypical.

This word does not change the meaning of the sentence and it can be deleted. It goes back to the formal tone that I mentioned above.

And the action? Very repetitive.

Personally, I would take these two fragments and make them into one complete sentence.

But if you snap them up like potato chips, then borrow it from your local library, knowing that it won’t be impressive.

"But" can be replaced with "However" for a more formal tone.

Your review is actually fine the way it is. Many reviewers are opting for a more informal tone so they can connect with their readers better. So why did I go to all of this trouble if there is nothing seriously wrong? I personally prefer a formal tone when I am reading a book review, but I am probably in the minority on this one. Besides, I like editing things. So, thank you for the half hour of fun. I also thank you for the well-written review of Talon of the Silver Hawk. Now I will not have to waste my time finding out how average the book is. I eagerly await your next book review (if you choose to write more). Good job! :thumbl:

--DM--

PS: I like the title the way it is.
 

Talia_Brie

Senior Member
Well, Daniela was pretty intensive, so I'll try something a bit more superficial.

To me the review felt a little disjointed, in that the paras didn't appear to follow any natural rhythm (I did however, read it quickly). It just felt like you were jumping from point to point without any story of your own to tell. I like to think of reviews as little stories, with a "plot" that is carried through from beginning to end.

The second to last chapter:

(Okay, in an attempt to mollify all of Mr. Feist’s fans out there, let me say this: I do believe that Feist has a lot of talent, but in the case of Talon of the Silver Hawk, I think he was just being lazy. It isn’t an entirely bad book, just rather derivative.)

It doesn't need to be in parenthesis. The narrative voice changes here as well, and it doesn't need to. Even when you completely paste a novel, as you've done here (with good reason, I think you know my feelings on that) you can comment on the author's other, higher quality works. It's part of what makes this novel so disappointing.

I didn't disagree with anything you said. A point you picked out that I didn't:

“I would choose luck over skill any day” is a favorite saying of Tal Hawkins.

I heard Ray Feist speak once and he said he has a poster above his desk that says "I'd rather be lucky than good. But the harder I work, the luckier I get."

This kind of background on an author can add a bit of depth and credibility to a review.

Overall though, good work, and you've done the right thing in not being too scared to go after a successful author.
 

bobothegoat

Senior Member
It would get an A in the english class that I'm in ^^. But then again, I'm in basic sophomore english because I am too lazy to even try to get into honors classes (more homework? Blech.).

Talon is immortal, protected by his handy-dandy “Main-Characters-Can’t-Die!”-shield.
I agree. What makes it more dissapointing is that in earlier series (Serpent War) the main characters drop like flies- almost too much so.

Talon of the Silver Hawk: Not So Sharp
by Adria Terrace
Well, the heading is a bit confusing at first. It almost looks like you put your own name as the book's author. Sure it's not a real gripe about the review itself, but still...

Perhaps you could change it to say: reviewed by Adria Terrace?
 

Talia_Brie

Senior Member
Creative_Insanity said:
Wow, thank you thank you everyone for such good advice. This review really needs a lot of work. ^_^;

I don't think it needs a lot of work, just to be smoothed over a bit.

Good luck with it.
 

Creative_Insanity

Senior Member
Yep, that's me. :)

No, I don't have any other book reviews currently. I'm back in school and things have been hectic. :( I don't have much time for writing anymore . . . so tragic.

. . . Though I do happen to have plenty of time for procrastination, which is why I'm here. ;)
 
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