Well ... it is definitely a debut effort and reads like one
Reviewed in the United States on 12 April 2021
"Breach of Peace", the debut published effort from Fantasy BookTuber, Daniel Greene (Daniel B. Greene on the book), is a short novella that I have mixed feelings on. I have a few works of my own out there now, and in hindsight, I can see where I would have done things differently. Though I haven't rated this first book by Daniel very high, I hope that he learns from this experience and continues to publish and grow in his craft as a writer. This is an important time for him in his development, so we will see how he does with his future efforts.
First, my disclaimer: I am not a subscriber to his YouTube Channel. This review is 100% honest and of my own personal opinion. I am familiar with some of his videos, but I am not allowing my review to spill over to what I think of him as a BookTuber, only as a writer.
"Breach of Peace" is an introduction to a larger universe forthcoming, and starts with 3 detectives, out of the same precinct, who are investigating 6 grisly murders that have taken place inside the mansion of a royal family. As we follow along with the main protagonist, Khlid, her husband Samuel, and their colleague, Chapman, we find out there is more going on behind the scenes than initially meets the eye. As they dig deeper, their very lives are at stake in finding out why this family was so savagely killed.
We are introduced to a world that appears to be more industrial than it is fantasy based. In fact, I wouldn't call this a Fantasy at all, but rather, more of a crime/detective noir story with fantasy elements that hinges on horror. There is little-to-none world building here, and just based off of some of backdrop given in description and dialogue, we do know a few things. They have cigarettes, guns that can fire off cartridges, indoor plumbing (one of our characters sits on a toilet in his bathroom), though there do not appear to be any motorized vehicles since they are still using horse drawn carts. Some have stated this is steampunk, though I personally never got that vibe at all. The names of the characters are more modern as well: Chapman, Samuel, Williams, Pruitt, Smits, Rollins, to name a few. Only the name "Khlid" stands out as unique.
There is relatively no character development here either. We have no backstory for any of them - good or bad, other than that we know Khlid is a chain smoker and she is happily married to, and in love with, her husband, Samuel. We have no clue about any of their families, how they met, etc. What we can glean from them is more "told" than "shown", which is one of Daniel's personal gripes, so I was a bit surprised to see him take this approach in his own book.
As for his writing style, to me it was very reminiscent of the directness that authors such as Elmore Leonard and Brandon Sanderson would take. It is tight, very much to the point, and with minimal prose. Fans of Rothfuss probably would not enjoy this writing style. Personally, I felt this was a redeeming quality of the book, as I appreciate an author isn't too flowery or wordy, and as a crime noir, this style works well here. However, when Daniel does get a bit wordy in parts, it can distract from the overall feel of the story, but not overly so.
Logical development I felt was a problem here. The book starts off reined in and well written. As the story continues and unfolds though, I felt Daniel begin to lose some of his control, almost like he was in a rush to finish the story - the discipline he starts out with unravels as he goes along. Since I was not invested into the characters, shallow as they were, I was not awed by a "being" he intended to be an all-powerful nemesis by the story's end. And given the final outcome of the book, as I finished reading the final sentence, I was left thinking ... "What's the point?"
This book needed a better editor. It wasn't bad, and for the most part, structurally sound. However, there was one very pointed instance where Daniel leaves us with a statement at the end of one of his chapters that literally gives away the future of a main character. Now, if this had been written as a series of flashbacks, and we already knew how it turns out, this is fine. But, to throw that in there like he did in real-time, it upset me. It was like saying, "The Butler did it", and ruining the end - at least, THAT character's end for me.
My other unsettling gripe about this book was his use of the terms "God" (uppercase G), "Almighty", "Anointed", and "Chosen". Why is he pulling directly from the Holy Bible to try and make his own work stand out? This didn't sit well with me. Show some originality, Daniel! Give us something special.
Despite these shortcomings, this wasn't necessarily a bad book. I know a lot of reviewers out there have enjoyed it. I have given it 2 stars out of a possible 5. It isn't a failure, but I don't see this as a success either. There is room for improvement, without a doubt.
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