People are doing sell-someone-else’s-stuff Saturday. So my pick today, (better late than never), is Glynn Stewart Author. I’ve gone through most of his books and if you like M.R. Forbes, you will probably find yourself a fan of Glynn Stewart.
Very quick informal reviews: Lion Quest by Michael-Scott Earle. Book 1 is the most problematic, because there’s an odd choice. It sets up a bunch of minor characters, but three books in, they really didn’t matter for much of anything.
The reasoning is solid, he wants to setup the protagonist in a new environment where he’s without his usual support network. The problem is the protagonist is a fully mature adult with near infinite wealth. He doesn’t really need much of a support network, so we never feel the loss from losing that support network.
Usually books that do this like the Shayne Silvers‘s Nate Temple series give us a protagonist who is self-destructive or battling with demonic forces that are threatening his soul. Without that, there’s only oddball mentions of characters from the first book, but they don’t add anything to the series at this point, which makes the first part of the first book drag.
Once you get past that, the books are fun. There’s some annoying side characters. The female elf eventually begins to have a character arc, but having a permanent fluffer in the group is annoying. In her early arc, her role is to constantly hit on the main character. His work on her character arc should have begun earlier, but better late than never.
Overall, it’s a 4.5 stars series, just the side characters can be annoying and the main character as a superstud with no real faults is not the most sympathetic character. On the latter point, he does explain what it takes to become a superstud and it’s better than a character like Jack Reacher who can eat ten stacks of pancakes a day, never work out, but maintains a solid 260 lbs.
He also balances out the super-studliness of his main character by giving him regular, real-world problems, revolving around the dementia of his parents. He agrees to start playing the new game not because of his own personal self-interest, but because he’s trying to cure his parents.
Next is Harmon Cooper‘s Fantasy Online’s Polyna. The first book introduces Ryuk Matsuzaki, a character more appropriate for the loss of support network that Michael Scott-Earle went for in Lion’s Quest.
The second book picks up the slack that was left in the first book, largely the problem that Ryuk is not a likeable character. He’s an Otaku character, which is ok for a side character, but as a main character, not very interesting.
To make up for this, Harmon digs deeper into the backstory and mythos of the side characters, including a more paternal relationship between Ryuk and his human cyborg. Outside of the real-World relationship there, the relationship in the game between the Swede, elf, and Goblin is probably the most amusing piece.
Harmon’s running commentary on social structures is a huge bonus, and the fact that he can tell a joke without stopping the book to scream “SEE MY JOKE! I HAZ FUNNIES!” is a huge bonus. If any writers read this, the readers can get a joke without a laugh track. And if you need a laugh track, your joke isn’t any good.
The weak part of the book is still the real World, with the antagonism between him and his older brother still unexplored. The brother has a reason to hate him at the end of the second book, but the animosity in the first two books is unexplored. The University piece is also unexplored.
It would make sense if the Mom intended her younger son to become the “bank”, a term for a legal enterprise that acts as a shell company for an illegal one, but that never gets brought up.
Overall, it’s also 4.5 stars.