Darkwater, by D. W. Johnson

I so wanted to like this book. And to a degree, I did. This read like a well-planned D&D campaign that had interesting situations, and interesting plot nuances, but the execution fell short.

After finding a messenger bag on a dead body, Lacey begins a strange journey with new friends. Artifacts are discovered, and legends come to life the farther she carries on. What magic lies ahead for such a mage?

The opening of this book is a slow-moving info dump. It didn’t catch and hold my attention. I was hoping maybe things would pick up after the first few chapters, but things felt incredibly monotone. The pacing of the story, the reactions of characters, and the characters themselves, all felt like they had one emotion and it wasn’t particularly evocative.

There’s little to no “showing” in the novel. The entire time the reader is being “told” what’s going on and it made for a bland read. I felt like things were too easy for the characters. There was extra care taken to make sure there were actual challenges to overcome, but they were all easy to overcome.

Tense changes were prominent throughout the entire novel. It was jarring to me as a reader.

As I said before, the plot was interesting. The world felt lifted from D&D in a lot of ways and so it served as familiar, accessible fantasy. The setting, for the most part, was fairly easy to visualize. I loved the fact that most of the party was comprised of women. I genuinely want to know how their story progressed, however, the execution of the story did not impress me as a reader.

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