Book Cover
Title The Divine Apprentice
Author Allen Johnston
Cover Art Amber Johnston
Publisher independent - 2013
First Printing independent - 2013
Book Cover
Title The Divine Path
Author Allen Johnston
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Book Cover
Title The Divine Unleashed
Author Allen Johnston
Cover Art ---
Publisher ---
First Printing ---
Category Fantasy
Warnings ---
Main Characters Kade, Rayden, Darcienna, Zayle
Main Elements Wizards, dragons
Website allenjjohnston.com




Click to read the summaryThe Divine Apprentice




This book was independently published, and while I've read many a book published that way, some of which were better than professionally published books...this one wasn't one of them. It had a lot of promise, and the author got some things right, but man, he annoyed me with the things he got wrong.

The premise was good and creative. Johnston created a rich world, and defined the rules by which magic worked very well, almost to the point where the reader feels that had they the talent, they too could learn to wield this power. And I liked the character of Kade, he was certainly flawed but he had many good points to make up for it that you forgave him his youthful impulses...well, almost anyway. And of course Rayden, a wonderful wild, yet tame, dragon.

There were a few things that bothered me though. For one thing, whenever Kade was learning a Calling on his own, he would study the page for hours, painstakingly studying every word, memorizing every gesture. Then he'd try it out and it would blow up because somehow, in all those hours staring at the page, he missed the footnote with a warning in it. I mean seriously, he goes on and on about how important it is to get everything just right, how doing the slightest mistake could result in death, and he misses the freaking footnote...MORE THAN ONCE!!! On a positive note, the fact that he did get things wrong, even after training for years was refreshing, too many books I've read where a character seems to insta-learn their magic which never comes off as believable.

There were also several cases where the character thinks, "Hmm, I sense something odd here...ah whatever I'll ignore it". The reader of course is then tipped off that something is about to happen and you just want to smack the character for ignoring his instincts. If this was intended to create a sense of suspense it just generated a feeling of annoyance. In fact while Kade must be about 20, he acts much younger, like a 14 year old perhaps.

The author tended to be repetitive too, like as if he'd find a word he liked, like "crunch" and then have to use it in the next three sentences, and then never again. Especially bad when the second and third sentences were extraneous ones, as if they were just put in so the author could use that wonderful word a couple more times.

And finally there was the meat...Ok, I'll admit there's nothing worse than giving a character a new power, like say making food, and then having him starve to death somewhere, I've seen that done before. But once Kade discovered he could create meat he took *every* possible opportunity to make some. He gave it to his dragon when it was hungry (which was pretty much always). He would give it to people he met on the road. He would feed small furry animals. He would give it to the damsel in distress he just rescued. The story even wrapped up with him sharing meat with his family. The last third of the book had me thinking meat, meat, meat, hot juicy meat....and it was unfortunately distracting from the plot. I was just grossed out in the end by all these people eating meat like barbarians, with the juices running over their faces and hands. For crying out loud, make some bread already!

Ugh, and Kade isn't the only one that has unbelievable reactions to things. So you meet this guy in the woods and he's got a dragon. He seems nice enough but you don't trust him, even though he's holding his dragon back so that it won't eat you. What do you do? Be nice to him and get out of there as fast as you can? Course not, you threaten to pick a fight with him. Of course, there's that silly little detail of the DRAGON, that would certainly defend his master, then gobble up the rest of your family in short order *eye roll*.

And finally, the "coincidence" problem. Now that failing in a book I first really noticed in a professionally edited and published book. However now that I've been reviewing books for years, I'm on the look out for it. So, I am to believe, that the very day that Kade decides to leave his home of the past 10 years, and it wasn't planned or prophecised or anything like that, that his parents would at the same time be taken hostage by the bad guy. How did the bad guy know? Were it the event that drew Kade out, fine, then the one has something to do with the other. But here, they just "happened" to have happened at the same time. Really?

Thus the unfortunate part of this book. The Divine power was an interesting twist on magic, and it isn't the only form of magic in that world. How the magic is used is interesting. The setting was interesting, with all its strange and bizarre monsters. The plot was decently interesting and you had enough questions to keep you going, and enough answers to satisfy. There wasn't a stupid cliffhanger at the end. But it needed some serious editing. Unfortunately with two more books already published and a fourth on the way I doubt a re-write is in the works.

I will not continue with this series.

Just have to comment on the cover. At first I thought it was so odd to see a hairy armed man on the cover of a book...then I saw the picture of the author and understood, hehehe




Posted: May 2014

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