Monday, February 20, 2012

The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights by Stephen Gawn

Title: The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights
Author: Stephen Gawn
Length: 5308 Kindle units
Rating: 1 star

The Plot

When Michael was little, his grandfather showed him an old pocket watch and told him that it contained the secret to finding King Arthur’s secret treasure. Now that Michael is sixteen and off to learn to control his elemental powers at a prestigious internship at Embury, he is more determined than ever to solve the riddle of the watch. But as he grows closer to finding the answer, he learns that he is not the only one after the treasure and that the other people looking for it will stop at nothing to get what they want.

The Good

The Kindle version of this book was wonderfully formatted, complete with a table of contents and the ability to flip through chapters.

Some of the elements of the magical mythology were very interesting. I liked the idea that everyone could create fire in a color that manifested their true goals. And there was an interesting variety of chimaera-like animals.


Crap, I got nothing.

The Bad

Some of my readers get very excited when they find out I am reading a horrible book because they really enjoy reading the bad reviews. I must confess that I am not among them. I wish that every book I read was worthy of five stars. Sure, sometimes I get some entertainment out of the bad books, else I would definitely be ill-suited to the task of weeding through self-published e-books. But I mostly prefer to read books with interesting characters and compelling plots.

Unfortunately, every once in a while I come across a book like The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights that is just terrible on every domain. I realized I was going to be in for a problematic read on the second page, when Michael dodged the “attaches” of some bullies. I had to face the horrifying truth that either the author didn’t know how to spell “attacks,” or I was going to have to interpret the deep symbolism of people fighting with soft-shelled briefcases.

Sadly, the book did not improve from there. The characters’ motives were wandering and senseless, and I couldn’t really keep up with what was going on at any given time. Michael was told to be somewhere at 6 o’clock the next morning, but then he would spend the next day doing something completely different. He ended up in the infirmary for weeks after one of several random wild animal attacks, but he didn’t get behind in any of his classes or his sports team. The clues to the treasure hunt that served as the main plot of the novel bore little connection to each other and didn’t really make sense, and yet I could still see who the villain was from a mile away. I’m not entirely sure what happened at the end, but was I ever glad when I got there!

The Romance

Michael meets three girls when he arrives at Embury: Alice, who is described as butch and outspoken, Josephine, who introduces herself to the same people at least twice, and Isabelle, who doesn’t say anything until at least the third scene she’s in.

And now it’s time to play Spot the Love Interest!

We can easily rule out Alice, since she seems to have a personality. Josephine made a convincing play, but in the end she got the runner up prize of being the best friend’s girlfriend. So points to those of you who correctly identified Isabelle the mute as our hero’s one true love. Of course, all this really means is that she follows him around on whatever he’s doing and occasionally has a few sentences told from her point of view. Which I can only assume occurs to rob the book of having even the virtue of a consistent point of view.

Will I read more?

I am fairly certain that there is a special level of hell where the residents are forced to spend eternity reading endless sequels to this book. And unless I am sentenced there upon my death, I will most likely not be reading any further in this series. And, let me tell you, that is a motivation for me to be good.

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