Monday, January 7, 2013

The Dark Eagles: First Flight by David R. Smith

Kief loves exploring the rugged mountains on his horse, Natch, with his
best friend Tarc.  But when he receives a mysterious map on his birthday,
left behind for him by his dead grandfather, Kief is thrown into an
adventure beyond even his imagination.
Leaving home to pursue his childhood dream of attending the merchant
academy on the coast, extraordinary events unfold propelling Kief, along
with his friends and his map, toward the same perilous destiny.

My Review

Because I am a writer, it is very easy for me to slip into editing mode when reading a book. In fact, that seems to be my default mode. If a book can snatch me out of editing mode and engross me in the story, it has done its job. Because of this, I was very hesitant to review this book after I had finished reading it. I didn't feel like the story really got going until about 50-60 pages in, and it wasn't until the last third that I was able to get fully engrossed in it.

I commend the author for having an original idea and going with it. The overall story of how a group of teens battle against a nearly faceless evil is a common theme, but the way the author deals with it is fascinating. Near the end, I found myself racing through, and my pulse was pounding! 

I wish this book had been in the hands of a professional editor, because it would have benefited greatly. For example, I kept thinking the main character was 13-16 years of age, and the only age I could find him being was 22. It wasn't until I read an author interview that I learned that time is calculated differently in the book's world, so Keif was actually about 17 years old in Earth time. To find this out, you have to look at the charts in the back of the book. There are also a few spelling errors, a slew of grammatical ones--mainly involving comma usage--and a need for content tightening, which a professional editor would have taken care of. So, I recommend that if at all possible, a professional editor is hired to work over this book for content, spelling, and grammar in subsequent editions, because the bones of something really great are in the story. 

If you are not a writer with an annoying editor stuck in her head, you may enjoy the book as is. It is relatively clean, with no sex. There is violence, including gun violence, but it is not graphically described. I would feel comfortable with my twelve-year-old son reading it. The target audience seems to be teen boys, and I think boys would be interested in the story line. First Flight has gotten some great reviews, so read it and see what you think. I commend the author for putting himself out there like this. That is not an easy thing to do. It is obvious that he has talent in world-building, and I am looking forward to seeing him grow and develop his talents in his next writing projects.

I absolutely love the drawings throughout the book in the chapter headings and such. David R. Smith has quite the talent for maps. I have a fondness for trees, and I would love to see some of his drawings in larger form so I could hang them as artwork! In fact, the drawings are some of the best I've seen in any book.

Visit his website here: The Dark Eagles

*Disclaimer: I was given an autographed copy of the book for review, and have not been compensated for my thoughts--not that they would be worth much, anyway. Maybe a couple of doughnuts, which I am not eating right now because I'm trying to better my health, so that would be a waste of postage.*

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