Book Review of Scriber

Now that I’m back to writing, I’m also back to reading fiction–hoping to learn and reflect and generally just being entertained. I have a backlog of books that I’ve been wanting to read, and the first one I picked up was Scriber by Ben Dobson. I believe I picked up this book when it was free for a brief period of time. Scriber has an excellent review score and history with over a hundred people posting positive scores to Amazon and Goodreads. For the most part, I completely agree with them. Here’s a breakdown of the story without a lot of spoilers.

Scriber is a story of a classically trained historian, outcast from favor, trying to survive in a medieval fantasy world despite his faults and past. He just so happens to fall inline with a group of female soldiers who have a date with destiny. Scriber has all the right elements of a classic fantasy tale: a larger-than-life heroine, vengeful spirits, lost magic, a moving story and an epic quest. The character building, especially for the protagonist, was extensive, and for better or worse, you understand his motivations and shortcomings. I finished the book, including the epilogue and prologue, in a sitting that was only interrupted by sleep (started on a Friday night and went into Saturday). It held me in sway.

There were very few typos (maybe a handful), and the story was very solid. The only reasons I am not giving this five out of five is because I was never surprised with the story. The flow was very formulaic, and you’ll know not only who is going to die but also who is going to stay together chapters before the action unfolds. This can be a rewarding experience in itself for many readers, and I certainly didn’t mind the comfort of knowing what I was getting into. The other downside to this was that so few of the many characters were fleshed out (and there are a lot of characters). They were one-dimensional except for the protagonist, and this helped with predicting who was going to survive and who was likely to bite the bullet.

Despite those notes, this is solid storytelling by a promising author. I’d definitely recommend the book to any fans of traditional fantasy. And for the price point ($ 0.99), you really can’t go wrong with picking up this book.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About Rex Jameson
Rex Jameson is the author of the three novels in the Primal Patterns series and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends.

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