The First Pillarby Roy Huff
Series: Everville #1
Published on April 1, 2013 by Roy Huff
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Owen Sage is the emblematic college freshman at Easton Falls University. With all the worries about his first year in college, he was not prepared for what would happen next. His way of life was flipped upside down when he mysteriously crossed into another dimension, into the beautiful land of Everville. His excitement was abruptly halted when he discovered that there was a darkness forged against both the natural world, which he knew well, and the new land which he discovered, Everville. He must devise a plan to save both worlds while joining forces with the race of Fron and The Keepers, whom both harbor hidden secrets he must learn in order to gain power over the evil that dwells in The Other In Between. With a race against time to save both worlds, his short time at Easton Falls did not quite prepare him for the evil, dark forces he must fight in order to conquer The Other In Between.
I had a gut feeling about The First Pillar after finishing the first chapter. Before accepting the review request, I read the reviews on it and most praised the novel, and those that didn’t indicated that it was probably meant more for the young adult readers. As a reader in between the young adult and adult audience, I couldn’t agree with them. This book was not without potential but I don’t believe the author utilized the story to its fullest.
It started with the first chapter. Those five pages needed to set the story up for the rest of the book and instead, as a reader, I was left with several questions. I knew nothing about the main character, Owen, and I had to stop and flip back through the book in the hopes that I missed a prologue or something of the sort. By the end of chapter four, I was ready to give up on the book completely. Huff uses exposition to the point that I knew nothing about the characters. He spent more than enough time trying to describe a scene but the characters themselves were left to the imagination of the reader. This translated into no noticeable character growth throughout the novel. And the setting Huff tried to set so well instead became, quite frankly, useless. He could have set it in Owen’s hometown and I don’t think it would’ve really made a difference.
I gave up on trying to find a decent “action” scene. The amount of exposition combined with one of Cinder’s favorite terms, the deus ex machina, created a lack of tension and provided no encouragement to continue reading. This is shown in the very beginning of the novel where the Keeper brings out a little machine and suddenly Owen knows everything he needs to know. This idea of just providing the reader with all the knowledge proves to be quite annoying when all you read is the narrator telling you what’s happening. It’s as if Owen never experiences anything himself. Instead of the characters acting a certain way, we’re told they’re something and expected to just go with that. On top of the passive text, I found the novel in need of editing. Words were misspelled, improper uses of grammar were littered throughout, and the transitions made for very awkward and stilted reading at times. [Edit: I received word from the author that there is a reproofed copy available that should take care of the misspellings and grammar issues. I received a print version of this book for review which does not include those changes.]
While this book received rave reviews from other readers, it wasn’t for me. I think The First Pillar holds a lot of potential and could be expanded on greatly. If the reader was allowed to experience the story through Owen’s eyes instead of being told it, I believe the novel would be a much stronger piece of work as well as allowing for a good set-up for a sequel. There is potential here but I don’t think it’s been realized yet.