Fantasy Review: ‘The Heresy Within’ by Rob J. Hayes

Update 7/15/15:  This book has been picked up by a publisher.  I reviewed the self published edition at the time of review.

Note:  This radio show doesn’t exist, this conversation never happened, I didn’t receive and early copy or advise the author in anyway.  Oh, and it occurred (or rather, didn’t) some undetermined time in the past.

Ok welcome back to Grimdark talk *heavy metal music plays,* we have on the line Rob, how you doing Tom?

Good, good, my name is Rob, but thanks for having me Nathan.

Alright, Rob here is looking to put out his new book, ‘The Heresy Within’, and sent me an early copy in order to insure it is appropriately GRIMDARK. *heavy metal music plays*

Have you had a chance to read it Nathan?

Yes I have and let me tell you there is some real potential here.  Let me tell you what I like, and then you can chip in with anything you feel I missed and questions you have, that work for you?

Sure thing Nathan.

Ok, good.  Look, you have a real good story here.  I mean your plotting is exceptional.  You kept it to three main points of views, and you mixed them wonderfully so they come together naturally.  I really liked that.  I was interested throughout; there was some nice action without ever being too over blown, and even the ending fit right in with the rest of the story, plenty dark but with enough “happy” to keep readers from getting too depressed.

Glad you liked it.

Yes.  The characters were a bit trope filled, but let’s be honest, it appears all the subversive nature of Grimdark was done by its originators.  Most people looking into this book won’t care as long as they stay entertained.  You have a member of the inquisition, a renowned barbarian warrior type, and even a female, um, blademaster.  You sticking with “blademaster?”

Ya why?

No reason, nothing wrong with a violent Saturday morning cartoon.  Hell it fits right in with the over the top nature of this book.  There was even a ratty old rope bridge over a croc filled river wasn’t there?  Ya, go ahead and keep blademaster as the official name of the impossible to get into secret society. We got a great base to work with here, but we need to polish it.  You ready to get to work Tom?

Again, it’s Rob.

Ok Rob, let’s do this. You got all the Grimdark credentials, a serial killer, a giant with a heart of gold who goes violent at a moment’s notice, lots of violent people with awesome nicknames.  In order to be appropriately Grimdark your just missing one little thing.  I know you have a whole lot of sex in the book, even some that is only quasi consensual.  But we need to get more rape involved.  Can we have a villain’s backstory involve putting a young girl before her army in order to break a siege?

Sure, I think I can add that into a scene where it doesn’t even affect the story, no one will notice.

Great, great.  I also notice that you have obviously based the “wild lands” in which most the story takes place after the African Savannah.  Yet all your characters are white.  In some way we have to make sure we mention other cultures and races, you think you can do that?

Sure thing, I will call them “Black Skins” and reference them living in an unseen Southern land in some offhand way.  OH, and I can make one token character black as well.

Good enough, that should keep the PC police off your back.  Well, lastly I guess we just go over the dialog.  I actually kind of dig the slang based conversations, especially the use of words like ‘ta” and phrases that start with “jus’ like.”  Can I read some of my favorite quotes to our listeners Tom?

My name is, never mind, yes, read away.

Good, good.  Here we go.

“After that I rode with them fer a while ‘till the Hangman caught ‘em.”
“Hangman Yril?’ Henry asked.

See, I would have thought that was just a general hangman, but your clever phrasing actually made it the nickname of an unseen character.  Very nice.

“My Name is Jezzet Vel’um.  Thanquil Darkheart sent me to kill you,” she told the corpse but it was too late.

I wouldn’t have known if the corpse was listening if you hadn’t told me it was too late, again.  Telling, not showing is the way to go.

“Then one day both lads had woken up with their throats cut.”

Oh, we are running out of time here, so I guess we will leave it on that note.  This has been, GRIMDARK TALK! *Heavy Metal Music plays*

3 Stars, because despite piling it on I really did enjoy the story.  It was well plotted and despite some very awkward phrasing the writing style usually worked for me.  But I can’t help but think if ever I have read a book that needed a strong editor, I just read it.  It could have have been a lot better with a bit of polish.  Still, I can see myself grabbing the second book in the future, so base everything else I said off that.

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