Title:  The Fire Within: Book 1 of The Fire of the Soul Series

Author:  Racquel Kechagias

Synopsis: I can feel him calling me, his voice whispering in the empty air, calling me to him. Without thought, without my own will I go to him. Annabelle VanDyken, Page 123
In a small kingdom, a place not marked on the maps and barely recalled by any living person, resides a cursed young woman named Anna VanDyken. Not many know of the curse that lies in wait for the moment he will come to possess her and thrust her into a new reality.
Thrown into a world so unlike her own, filled with creatures that only exist in the darkest of dreams there is no chance to escape and nowhere to run to. A countdown has started on her life, and the lives of her friends. Will she have enough time to save them all, or will they all fall into chaos? With the threat of war hovering above her head, and a curse that burns in her veins, will she live to be able to tell the tale?

Star Rating:  2 of 5

Review:  First off, I had very high hopes for this book.  I liked the premise, I liked the genre, and it looked so interesting.  So with that said, I’ll progress as carefully as I can.  The Pros first…. I think the author has a vivid imagination, and there is a good story in there.  The characters are a bit lopsided, but I think with a little work they can be well defined and even relatable.  The action is a bit heavy handed, but again with  rewrite, I think that this book can hold so much potential that I’d even consider reading the second one.  Now for the cons… there is one glaring mistake that this author has made and it’s one that I had major difficulty getting past…editing.  If it were simply bad spelling or one or two mistakes, I probably would have seen past this to get to the heart of the story. But, unfortunately, this book is filled with wrong verb tenses, sentences that start in past tense but end up in future tense.  As a writer, I kept coming back to the same thing, where was your editor?  I had to push to finish the book, mostly because I had committed myself to doing a review.  Had I not given my word, I simply would have put the book to the side and left it.  My suggestions are this:  1) Find an editor.  Actually I would find two.  As editors tend to cost money, I would find some willing authors that you can exchange this service with.  Offer a review of their book in exchange for editing on yours.  2) Rethink some of your first person viewpoint.  I know as a new writer I myself worked in first person, made it easier to tell the story, but for this particular story, I think third person would work better.  3) Give your characters more depth.  I thought a few of the characters were a bit “high school”, but if you had better defined them, I may have seen them in the light you intended.  Lastly, the flipping back and forth between character viewpoints works for George RR Martin, he can flip within chapters, for this story it actually detracted from the action and really leaves the reader questioning the story line.  Your story line should be a clear progression from beginning to end – there’s a full chapter on William that I couldn’t understand why it was in there.  We never find out HOW he’s captured, if he is captured and what he’s exactly doing.  I think that an editor would have caught this, and the story would have flowed better.
All in all, the story itself can be great, the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a clear focus.  The characters can be great, but again they aren’t well defined, they need to be real people.  Lastly, the world you envisioned needs to come to life, and in the bad grammar, bad sentence structure and quick flips, you lost the reader.  I think that you could take this one back to the drawing board and revamp it and it could be truly great.  The imagination is there, the basic formula is there, but you need editing and you need focus.  I don’t want this to sound harsh, but you should have someone who can be honest with you read it before you publish.  If all you hear is “it’s perfect” you’re going to be very disappointed in how the public and critics react.  I admit that I received this as a requested review on “Shut up and Read” and it was my choice.   The story was compelling, and I would be happy to reread it if you ever revamp it.  I’d even be willing to help out with a little editing if you were interested.  I hope you continue writing and see my suggestions as they are intended, constructive criticism.  Good luck.

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