Rey de Noches, by Sean Torres
Story: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Imagination: * * * * *
Writing mechanics: * *
In the world of Noches, where no sun ever shines, a young man named Ruiz dedicates his life to the dangerous quest to become Rey de Noches - King of Nights.
This is a review of the revised edition. I first started reading the original edition and contacted the author privately with some concerns, and he advised me that a revised edition was underway, so I decided to wait and read and review the new edition. A number of errors in the original edition have been fixed, but the writing is still problematic. In particular, there are problems with tangled-up sentences, incorrect verb tenses (the correct use of "had" is something that a number of writers seem to have trouble with), redundant words, and dialogue punctuation. These are all things that can be learned and improved as the author continues to learn and practice the craft of writing.
What is more difficult to learn, that Mr. Torres has in abundance, is imagination and storytelling instinct. Noches is a fascinating and original fantasy world, based on Hispanic history and culture. In spite of the tangled prose, the world is colorfully and vividly described. The worldbuilding is remarkably consistent in terms of there being no "days" in this world, only night - the world "day" is never used, and magic is common in this world as the people living there need it to keep their bodies warm in the absence of sunlight. The magic in general is very cool and has some spectacular uses, and the rules for its use are carefully laid out.
Rey de Noches introduces us to a cast of varied and colorful characters. The main character, Ruiz, seems a little thin at first, but he gains dimension and interest as he goes through his tasks and gradually learns what his true destiny really is. Along the way he meets with bandits, mystics, and an orphaned little girl whom he takes under his wing.
The story is gripping and intriguing, and well-paced with both exciting action and more contemplative scenes; every scene serves a purpose in moving the story forward, and I was never bored. I do have to say that the ending was of a type that I really don't care for, but that's just my own personal taste, and I'm sure other readers don't mind that kind of ending, or may even prefer it.
On the whole, in spite of the problematic writing, this is an exciting, entertaining, and imaginative novel. My overall rating comes out to 3.75 stars, but I'm rounding it up to 4 because Mr. Torres is a young writer of clearly huge talent, who simply needs to continue working to improve the technical aspects of his writing.
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