Hello Everyone! I will be manufacturing a review for a book christened Cadivel: The Complete Tale & A Well of Dandelions: A Short Story By Eric Margolis today. I would like to thank the author for sending a copy of this book to me!
So, without further ado, let us head straight into the review section of this article!
The ocean rages and the winds howl as Samuel, fleeing fire to the sea, becomes tangled in a web of war, magic, and revolution as fierce as the sea itself.
The uncompromising idealist Samuel and his lazy but kindhearted brother, Owen, move in with their uncle, an ambitious man living in a magnificent medieval castle. When the brothers’ curiosity gets the best of them, they discover he plans a military coup of the town they might call home: idyllic Cadivel, by the rough edges of the sea. Samuel and Owen, a fledgling magician, are eager to stop him but find themselves powerless against his deadly magic. Yet Samuel will not give up the fight for Cadivel after meeting a beautiful girl he cannot leave behind. Though only renowned newcomers from the distant Salt Empire have the strength and resources to shift the tide of the war, Samuel possesses a quality that could save Cadivel from an even greater threat.
Before we get into the review of Cadivel, I would like to comment on the short story christened A Well Of Dandelions written by the author. I was extremely intrigued by what the author would do with the short story because the opening paragraph starts like this:
“I almost had an affair with a much older woman once. I was twenty and taking time off school. Chronically depressed and only vaguely aware of it, I occupied myself doing watercolor painting and working part-time for one of my dad’s contractor buddies. My dad wasn’t around often, but when he was we played chess and talked about Jacob. Dad usually kicked my ass. Outside of that, driving made me sick and I hated TV so I had nothing much to do besides wander around. The nearest park was also a graveyard, so sometimes I watched funeral processions from a distance. The people were faceless black dots in verdure. They wept and bowed low to the earth, as if they wanted to taste the soil.” – A Well of Dandelions, Eric Margolis.
I thought the opening paragraph promised a plethora of things, such as a messed-up plotline, a sense of unease, a thriller-esque plot and unreliable characters and although I had gotten what I wanted out of the story, it still did not manage to live up to my expectation and the ending is part of the reason. The ending of this short story totally undo everything that the author did with the 3/4 of the short story and I thought it felt extremely out of place and should be replaced by an alternate ending. The ending manages to diminish the atmosphere and the sense of unease dissipates with it. With that being said, I enjoyed the writing style tremendously. I thought it was a great step-up from Cadivel which we will talk more about later on and I fancied reading the words in this short story flowing into one another intricately.
So, I am proffering this short story with a verdict of 70% (B).
The section below will include my remark on Cadivel: The Complete Tale:
“Wars never have good reasons,” Ophir said. “And remember, these are men that see themselves as bigger than everything else. These are also men that have had their lives dogged by failure and tragedy in the midst of their supposed talent and brilliance.” – Cadivel: The Complete Tale, Eric Margolis.
The pacing of this novel is pretty remarkable. It is fast-paced from start to finish and it has never once treaded on a precarious ground of going too fast and missing out on information and advancing too slow; it remains consistent throughout the novel and if you know anything about me, you know I love consistency and therefore, I absolutely adored the pacing that the author had instilled in this novel.
My sentiment for the writing style of this novel is rather conflicting because I relished a plethora of quotes in the novel and I thought several scenes were well-written but I also could not shake the fact that I found the rest of the scenes not as well-written and rather lack-lustered. Especially when the author started shoving an abundance of the word fuck in the dialogues. Sometimes the usage of that word is great, it brings out the tension between the characters or it showcases pure frustration. But most of the time, I thought it felt really unnecessary to use that word and it took me out of the story frequently because of it.
I enjoyed reading the opening lines of the novel because they set the tone and the atmosphere of the novel immaculately, the lines are like the calm before the storm and those lines go like this:
“I saw the passion of the sea.
The ocean roared with a salient flare of green in its arachnid’s spine, bony to human eyes, as the ridges of waves stabbed upwards in a regular grid. I saw the ocean tear with hidden rage at the tall cliffs guarding the northern coast with such fury! It wanted to tear the whole world apart. It wanted to fissure Marinne, again at war, to pieces, to peace. And yet where our story begins did not see this anger, for those obstinate cliffs blocked the saline wrath.” – Cadivel: The Complete Tale, Eric Margolis.
I enjoyed the author’s craft on the transition of a calm town christened Cadivel transmuting into a literal calamity in a few pages following the calmness; I thought it felt really realistic and unexpected; realistic as in a town and the people in it changing in a day due to war and unexpected as in we do not know where the author will take us to following this transition.
The world, like the author mentioned in the prelude, is similar to our own but it is distinct enough that we must cast our preconceived notions of history and technology aside. The world that the author created has magic involved and it is said that where science flourishes, magic is subdued. I thought the world-building was fine, I did not find anything noticeably interesting about it but the magic system, on the other hand, is not well-built. I thought the author should explain the magic system in length instead of giving the readers titbits here and there because it gets confusing after a while.
There are several main characters in this novel and I thought only two of them were written really well and the others have a sense of disconnect from the story. The disconnect is to the point of me not caring if the characters make it out alive or unfortunately dying in the process. Those two characters that I thought were well-written are christened Samuel and Owen. I thought Owen had a simpler mindset and his youth shows in his dialogues and I really enjoyed his interaction with Samuel and other characters. Although he did not have a heap in his character development, I thought he was an enjoyable and of course, realistic character to read about. Samuel, on the other hand, is a character that I do not like. He is stubborn, makes stupid decisions and he is annoying. Even though I do not like his characterization much, I thought the author handled his character really well and he did remain pretty consistent with his choices and stubbornness throughout the novel. I would like to say he has gotten a huge character development by the end of the novel, but unfortunately, he does not have it. But again, that does not detract from the realism that the character shows and how well-written he is. Period.
The plot of the novel did kind of take a route of being unexpected in several instances but other than that, it is pretty straight forward. The political intrigue is pretty straight forward as well. Both of them do not have the depth that I wanted and I felt disappointed when I can tell where the plot was heading.
P.S my favourite chapter in the novel is Ophir’s tale. I can still vividly remember that chapter because it had left an imprint on me ever since I finished the book.
In conclusion, I am going to proffer this novel with a verdict of 49% (E).
This is the end of my review for Cadivel: The Complete Tale & A Well of Dandelions: A Short Story By Eric Margolis! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!