The benefit of book review

Book reviews give books greater visibility and a greater chance of getting found by more readers. On some websites, books with more book reviews are more likely to be shown to prospective readers and buyers than books with few or no book reviews. (Dudley Court Press)

Review from BlueInk

I had just received feedback from BlueInk Review for my second novel, The Viceroys of God. It’s a mixed review, which created a mixed feeling for me as an author. BlueInk also gave a mixed review for my first book, The Eurasians. BlueInk Reviews make me sad, but also happy.


What the reviewer said

“Following his debut novel, The Eurasians (2017), Don Peter delves into his fascination with religious history for a thriller heavy in biblical lore and light on adventuring.

The narrative offers potentially page-turning elements: Jason discovered a mentor was killed in a mysterious accident, while another Muslim scholar and a close friend soon met a terrible end. There is also a slow-burn romance between Jason and blonde beauty Mary Townsend.

Meanwhile, a former ISIS assassin aims to take Dr. Bryden off the playing field for good”.


The problem with this story

“The problem is the novel central conceit is vexing: jolting readers out of the story. It is a shame because the cast is solid. Jason’s champion is mysterious Senator Rosemary Kimmel, whose motivations are opaque. The archeologist also tangles with figures like Russian with a mysterious past and an FBI agent who’s compromised”.


Analyzing the reviewer’s concern

I don’t blame the reviewer. They might be engrossed with the major story and then suddenly got “jolted out” by the stories within the story. The reviewer might be a romance-thriller-suspense genre lover, only to be frustrated by bumping into historical and biblical lore all along the main story’s road.

I think the reviewer felt there are no connections between Jason and the mini-plots. That was why they felt those stories were just distractions. Jason didn’t have direct links with the viceroys of God, thus making my story unpredictable. After all, the ancient prophets held the key to make Jason’s mission possible.

I had a dilemma about creating these plots because I wanted Jason to be involved with the past. I had thought of letting Jason meet those ancient prophets himself so he could have a direct connection with those stories.


Sample story if it had been different

Jason threw out. He coughed out the remaining fluid in his throat. Slowly Jason crawled on his palms and knees towards some vegetation. He still couldn’t open his eyes as the flash from the time travel had blinded him temporarily.

Suddenly he shivered. He held himself and coiled his body tightly. It was snowing heavily around where Jason was sitting.

“Are you all right?” A man covered Jason with mammoth hides.

It was an ancient language spoken, but somehow Jason understood him. Jason looked up. Jason could only see a silhouette of a man haloed by the sun. With blurry eyes, Jason senses the man is smiling at him.

Jason summoned his courage to talk.

“Are you… Noah?”

No voices came out from Jason’s throat. The speech Jason made was all in his mind.

“I am!” The man replied, still smiling.

Jason was astounded. Noah heard him without hearing his voices!

The plot above would be a sample draft plot of the story if I intended the genre to be different. The script is laughable because Jason would have horrified Noah as Jason looked so different! However, my novel will end up becoming science fiction because of the possibility of time-travel. I don’t want my story to end that way, so I have no choice; the only way to connect Jason indirectly with the past is through his “pondering.”

My suggestion of how to understand my story

How do you enjoy reading a novel like The Viceroys of God? As the reviewer said, jolting them out of concentration from the main story was annoying. If readers are not in favor of religious-historical settings, I am afraid it might be hard for them to enjoy this fiction.

I believe the only way for them to appreciate The Viceroys of God is to accept the interruptions and enjoy those stories within the story. If they decide to try, I bet it would be a unique experience because readers are familiar with the plots, always hearing them in their Sunday schools, but will be surprised at how different they are from what they heard.

I will receive more reviews soon, and I hope to get a better reception from any of them.