Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
Realm and Sands
October 16 2013
Unicorn Western Volume 1 is the first part of a larger saga. This is evident from it’s brevity and the lack of a descent ending. I like some aspects of the story but there are lots of things in the book that not only pull the reader out of the world; but also they don’t really do the story itself any favors. Let me explain some of them specifically. That way you don’t have to think that I’m dumping on a book that you can get for free.
First, using the constant words, “Yar,” “Nar,” and others of similar annoyance. These are, my guess; supposed to be parodies of yup, nope, etc… But all these do is annoy the reader as they occur with such frequency. In fact, they are over used to the degree that in some cases they move from being dialog fillers to trying to be parts of dialog. Which is ridiculous in and of itself.
Second, the setting: The place that Mai comes from is called, “The Sands.” Which is only explained as desert. The Marshal comes from a place called,”The Realm.” Which is only explained as a place of magic. Neither place is explained; the town they are in is called Solace and the place Mai threatens to go is Sojourn. Neither place is really described as if compares to the Sands except that they are somehow related. There is some insinuation pretty far into the book that the Sands references EVERYTHING that isn’t the Realm. But it is also said that the Realm is lost. So the whole world is the Sands? If that’s the case why are they referencing like it’s a place you come from or you’ve been. I don’t say, “I’m from Earth.” When I’m on Earth or around people who are also from Earth. This distinction might seem like a small thing but the reader always feels like they aren’t being told enough for them to really care about what’s going on. I certainly wasn’t. Realm and Sands is the name of the author’s self publishing company, btw…
Third, all of the anachronisms that seem to have no explanation. There is a mention of the board game Risk among other things that seem completely out of place in this world. I was put off a little bit each time one of these was mentioned.
Fourth, Teddy… Oh my god, he is the worst excuse for a frame of reference character I’ve ever seen in my life. I think he is also supposed to be comic relief but frankly he is just annoying and not funny. Then he disappears near the end. Hopefully he was killed by bandits or something. I think he was supposed to be around 13 but he acts like he was more around 8. I really can’t say enough that he was totally unnecessary and seemed like something that shouldn’t have gotten through the first edit.
Finally, I know there are people out there who are sure to think I’m hating on this book. That it is supposed to a fun, light, romp and if I don’t like it I shouldn’t buy the rest. And yes, you are correct, I wouldn’t buy the rest if someone gave me the $10 to do so. I have too many books to read and my time is more valuable than that. But the point is, if you think the books are funny, great; Read them… I found them to be annoying and only mildly entertaining AT BEST. If I want to laughs with my fantasy fiction I’ll stick with Terry Pratchett.