Monday, September 19, 2011

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Jean Murray

Soul Reborn
Crescent Moon Press
April 2011

Book Blurb:
Asar, the Egyptian God of the Underworld, has been tortured and left soulless by a malevolent goddess, relegating him to consume the very thing he was commissioned to protect. Human souls. Now an empty shell of hatred, Asar vows to kill the goddess and anyone involved in her release, but fate crosses his path with a beautiful blonde huntress who has a soul too sweet to ignore.

Lilly, fearless commander of the Nehebkau huntresses, is the only thing standing in the way of the goddess' undead army unleashing hell on earth. But Lilly has a secret—one she is willing to sell her soul to keep. If the Underworld god discovers her role in the dig that released the goddess, she will lose everything, including his heart.

For this week’s blog, I downloaded samples of four debut books. SOUL REBORN was the first one I read and it grabbed me from the get go. But to be fair, I read the other three too before making my selection. The second one was pretty good but after a little sleuthing I discovered it was written by an established author’s third alter ego. I really hate when they label a book as debut when an author assumes a new pen name. Anyway, the other two didn’t hold my interest so I went back to the first one.

The Opening Chapters:
The author starts off with the hunt (or chase, if you prefer) of the hero after the heroine before he knows who or what she is. It was dark, action-packed and laced with sexual tension. It was a real page-turner and I couldn't wait to read more.

The Mythos:
I loved how the author combined zombies, warrior demi-goddesses and Egyptian mythology for her playground in this series. I’m not familiar with all the mythology behind it and it was interesting to see the power plays going on between them. I’m sure the powers that be at the big NY publishing houses all turned this down because it treaded into ‘unmarketable’ territory. Their loss. That’s one of the things that made this book a refreshing change from the same old, same old.

The Romance:
Here’s where the author lost me. This is a pet peeve of mine, but I can’t stand it when the characters profess their undying love for one another after they’ve only known each other for a few days. Hot and horny and ready to jump each other’s bones, yes. Commitment for all eternity together (and eternity with an immortal god is a verrrry long time), um no. I love the chase. The pursuit. The hunt. And after reading the opening chapters, I was hoping to have a lot more of this. But Lilly, for all the kickass heroine that she is, turned into a submissive marshmallow during their first encounter. She toughens up again later, but it was too late and ruined her character for me.

Grammar and Editing:
I don’t claim to be a grammar queen in any way, shape or form. That’s why I’ve hired an independent editor to go over my manuscripts before I indie publish them. No book is ever perfect, however I felt this one needed another run-through by the editing department. Every few pages there were either missing words and/or misplaced commas, which unfortunately jerked me out of the story every time I ran across one. If this is something that bothers you, consider yourself warned.

The ‘IT’ Factor:
The first quarter of this book is fast paced, action-packed, and filled with sexual tension. This is what probably grabbed the editor’s attention. Throw in the interesting mix of Egyptian gods and zombies, and the author had something unique on her hands. If the romance hadn’t been rushed and the editing had been a bit better, this could have been a stellar book for me. Hopefully Murray will hone her skills on the next books in the series.