This is one of the review requests I accepted in the past couple of months. The sample chapters were pretty good and intriguing enough for a closer look.
Title: The Tabernacle of Legion
Author: Kevin Schillo
Genre: Science Fiction/Hard Science
ROTS Setting: CU, Near-Future, Aliens
Synopsis: In the midst of a golden era of space travel, an alien artifact is discovered in the asteroid belt. The artifact seems to defy fundamental laws of physics, and it is at least three billion years old. In an attempt to learn more about the artifact, NASA launches the most advanced spacecraft ever built, crewed by the most qualified men and women in the astronaut corps. But they are not alone in their endeavor. A being from the dawn of human history with a mysterious connection to the enigmatic aliens has been awakened, and he will stop at nothing to reach the artifact and claim its power for himself. And what they discover will be beyond anything they could have imagined
Recommendation: I do not recommend this book at this time.
A copy of this book was provided by the author for the purpose of obtaining a review.
What really drew me in at the beginning was that it’s set in the near-future where asteroid mining, a base on the moon, a base on mars, and the first fusion propelled spacecraft is about to be completed. I was hooked on the idea of exploring this frontier and the characters looked promising.
The majority of my issues with the book are mostly related to Mr. Schillo’s relative lack of writing experience. I found the characters lacking in individual voice. A few words and phrases were used by several different characters, often used in relation to the same thing. Explanations were repeated at nearly every POV change. Hash, hash. Hash and rehash. Through it all I couldn’t connect with the characters and I wasn’t invested in their future.
There was also a tedious issue with the formatting, I don’t know if this is unique to my eBook copy, both the line and word spacing were extremely large. I generally have my settings to have the narrowest spacing so that more words are on each page. It’s a minor gripe but it took a greater effort just to read and I never fully adjusted.
I’m torn when it comes to writing style. The whole book is basically written in an expositional prose. It’s not my preference at all but it was so consistent and thorough I can only guess that it’s intentional. And I could appreciate it for what it does. That said, it contrasts severely the tone in the opening chapters. There was almost a textbook quality to it with sporadic dialog thrown in, which would obviously contribute to the lack of character voice. However, like most textbooks there is also a distinct set of opinions that are blatantly being espoused and promoted. I generally don’t care so long as it fits with the story and the characters. Instead, it felt as if there were parts when the author was trying to say something instead of just telling the story.
When it came to plot, it was OK up until the big reveal right before the climax. As soon as the bomb dropped I was instantly pulled out of the story. There was only a hint of foreshadow so it felt fake and only there to make the end more dramatic. The timing was way off, the whole book felt like it was dragging (but some of the other issues already mentioned might explain that) and it didn’t build up to everything or even leave things in a satisfying way.
There’s also some question if this is a one-shot or the first book in a series. Nothing explicitly states there’s anything more after this, but the ending felt like things are intended to continue on in some way. As a one shot it’s completely unsatisfying and as a series opener it doesn’t hook me into wanting to read more…..Maybe as a prequel if everything was tightened up more.
In summary, it’s a passable novel for an aspiring indie author. There are clear missteps that are only likely to improve with more experience. I’ll be checking on this author in a few years, but for now there are other books that have my interest.
P.S. – The author recently put out a newer version of the book so I was able to compare the two versions in calibre. Unfortunately because I’m an idiot, I forgot there was a newer version and I read the older one. However, from the comparison I can see that much of the wordiness was cleaned up and several large blocks of exposition were streamlined. These changes are very promising, but I feel my previous comments are still applicable and further changes would need to be made. More reason for me to check back on this later.