The Scarab’s Curse (The Savage and Sorcerer, Book 1) by Craig Halloran is not deep. It is light entertainment. The first scene has the sorcerer Finster sitting in his office, the balcony over a small town bar, giving love (lust) tokens to a client – along with the bad news that the man’s wife has been unfaithful. This scene is richly detailed, the setting is carefully drawn so we feel the fire’s warmth and see the steep stairs to the balcony. Soldiers rudely interrupt, arrest Finster and drag him off to the Wizard Haven.
This first scene got me hooked. I appreciate an author’s skill who is able to create a mood and setting without lots of boring telling, who keeps the narrative alive and moving while filling us in on the back story. It is not easy to do. Halloran did a good job on about the first third of the novel, carefully illuminating setting, mood and character.
The last two thirds or so feel rushed, all plot, minimal background or setting or mood and little character development. Halloran’s writing style is good and he still tells a good story; he kept me reading. Halloran says in the afterward that he wrote the story in 8 days, two of which were Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so he drafted and finished a reasonably entertaining read in 6 days. Impressive.
It would have been more impressive had he taking his time and made the last part as good and as enticing as the first third; he would have had a very good novel. Instead it’s a decent story, but not as good as it could have been.
There is a sequel, The Scarab’s Power, but it’s $2.99 on Amazon, a little pricey if it’s the same overall decent-but-not-great quality as this first novel. I may look for other books by this author since he is able to tell a good story.
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