Book Review: Defender (Book #1 of Sanctuary Series)


Published: 2011

Author: Robert J. Crane

I subscribe to a daily email (several, actually) service that sends me deals on eBooks (free or under $1).  I haven’t had much luck with the books I have “bought.”  In one book ,the point-of-view constantly shifted, despite being written in the first person.  Another book was in desperate need of an editor – with constant spelling and grammatical errors that detracted from an already ridiculous plot.  Those are the books I bothered to finish; most of them, I get a couple pages in, realize how horrible it is, and then stop.  The good news for Defender is that I actually finished the book.  That is about where the good news ends.

The entire book reads as if the author plays too much World of Warcraft.  Not that there is anything wrong with that – I love Felicia Day’s webisodes The Guild and I am fairly certain that there is a feature-length motion picture called Warcraft coming out soon that is literally just the game in movie format.  The problem is that the first half of the book is random “raids,” which makes the book feel like he played the game then wrote a brief synopsis of each raid.  Only in the second half of the book, did a plot develop; even then it was rushed, covering months at a time in a single paragraph or two.  The raids at the beginning eventually tied into the plot, but the plot was too thin for the story to be cohesive.  Even the twist at the end lead to more questions than answers.

I also found the exposition a bit clunky.  The lead character, Cyrus, is a great warrior – we are told time and again by the other characters in the novel that Cyrus has the potential to be one of the best warriors of all times.  Yet, despite this, he seems to know absolutely nothing.  He graduated from warrior school, yet apparently, the only thing they taught him was how to swing a sword and maybe a tactic or two.  The other characters are constantly telling him what a paladin is or what a druid is, and what skills they have.  It seems to me that if you are ever in a skirmish with an opponent, wouldn’t you want to know in advance, if possible, what skills they have and what their weaknesses are – did they not teach this at his warrior school?  It felt like a weak attempt by the author to explain these characters.

Believe it or not Defender had potential.  All the elements were there, but they needed to be fleshed out a little more (okay, a lot more).  If you are addicted to World of Warcraft, you might like the book.  The writing itself wasn’t bad (by that I mean, it didn’t take me out of the story like the other two free novels I finished), but it doesn’t suck you in and create a grand image in your mind like Sanderson or Martin are capable of with their writing.  In the end, you get what you pay for.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to create a warrior ‘toon on World of Warcraft.

WWYT Rating: 4.8

Goodreads Rating: 3.88/5


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