Fantasy Genre Reviews

Smoke and Rain by V.S Holmes

9 December 2019
Smoke and Rain Book Cover Smoke and Rain
V. S. Holmes
September 19, 2015

I expected a hero to save us all. Turns out, I was thinking of the wrong part of the story.In the beginning, we aren't saved. The world is broken. There are only pieces and grief. Depending on the story, the fruit of grief is vengeance or justice or hardened resolve.The pieces must be gathered and flames kindled before I'm reforged. I don't know what shape I will take. Those pieces might become a hero...or a monster.A mad king's genocide destroyed Alea's home and left her sanity in tatters. The struggle between the gods and their creators fills the world with war. Caught in the crossfire of a conflict she knows little about, Alea only wants a quiet life. Trouble is, the darkness roiling in her mind may be the one thing that could end the bloodshed.A storm brews within her, and not even the gods will be safe when it breaks upon the world.

I was given a copy of this book for an honest review, and I’d like to thank V.S Homes and their team for thinking of me! I appreciate an opportunity to read something with a new and exciting twist to dark epic tales.

Let me start with my first impressions, and to be honest, this book had me lost for a very long time. I read and re-read the first few chapters because I was confused. I found the formal tone of the writing and the lack of immediate understanding of the worldbuilding to have thrown me initially. There was no exposition to start. Now that’s not a bad thing necessarily, and it’s just disorienting to me.

That said, as the book went on, it began to make more sense, and as that happened, I had a much more enjoyable read. So thus, for my first impression, while I initially was confused, I ended up understanding what was going on and enjoyed the first steps into the novel.

Let me go into the critiquing portion of the review, and to start, I’m going with “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation.” In this critique, the piece I am focusing on is the “Presentation” mixed with “Story Structure.” As I mentioned before, all of the writing is precise and elegant. Formal writing is a refreshing thing to me, and by no am I against it. My issue with the situation comes when there are random curse words thrown out at odd times.

This book felt so elegant from moment one in how it was written. However, with expletives that show up to punch up an action sequence, it felt strange. Considering the worldbuilding, no context for how the specific expletive word should fit, and find some semblance of balance compared to the elegance of the writing. While I do not mind expletives in most novels, this book is written almost as if by monks tonally. It’s just so beautiful and precise, and I’m not sure that the cussing helped anything.

Now, let me go into what I truly loved about “Smoke and Rain,” and we go to “Cliche Much” first as a scoring category. This story is unique and entirely presented as a unique take on many ideas. It could have become old and tired, but it wasn’t. Nothing was reused, or ‘borrowed’ from any other book or experience I’ve read. I felt that the writing was so unique and entirely it’s own that I was enjoying something new.

Next, in the category of “Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation,” I’m so happy to say that I loved how the book was paced and presented. The pacing, tension, grammar, spelling, format on Kindle, and everything else is terrific. As I mentioned, the formal tone was lovely and fit perfectly for this world. I enjoyed how that worked with the emotional structure that was threaded into the story. This book is woven together beautifully and really can bring in a reader into it in the right way.

Lastly, under “Whole Story,” I was happy to read this is a full story. I found it a good one, I am interested in more, and I think that overall it reads well. There is an overall world in this worldbuilding, and this story is one of many I am sure.

My overall thoughts, this is a very dark setting, but with bright moments in it. The characters are realistic and authentic, the scenery is gorgeous in the settings, and the world is rich. I do not want to give a single spoiler here, and I want you to experience this book yourself! If you like fantasy novels, epic fantasy, or even tales of dark times, this book is for you. This would be a perfect gift this holiday season for someone who wants something a little more robust in their reading pile!

With all of that in mind, “Smoke and Rain” has earned a score of 92/100, which is a five-star review on Goodreads and Amazon.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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