Perhaps I owe someone a bit of an apology. A while back, I had an argument with a self-published author who claimed that readers held indie authors to a higher standard than those published by mainstream houses. I disagreed. I have to admit that perhaps we were both right to a degree. The problem is, readers give authors a bit of a bye when their work goes through a large publishing house. It's the publisher's responsibility to see that the work is properly edited, and even when it's obvious that the writer can't write, we blame the publishers, because their
editors should have caught and fixed the problem.
So, in the case of self-publishing, I still maintain, we're not harder on the author-as-author, but we may be harder on the author-as-publisher! I will repeat my mantra: no author, independent or not, can afford to publish work that has not been edited by a qualified third-party. Which gets to the long-missed point of this review —
This is a fine story, and with good editing it would be worth at least 3 stars, quite possibly 4, but the editing (if there even was any) is tragic. It's not just the silly typos ("loose" for "lose", at least three times), they're not actually much more common than in many a mainstream novel. It's the use of sentence structure that is either, at worst, bad English, or at best, local idiom. It's the use of local trade names (hands up if you know what a "Sheila maid" is - and if you do, would you expect to encounter it in an Oriental-themed fantasy?). It's redundancy: "She hadn't recalled hitting her head, but she obviously had" - if you've done your job as an author (and she did!) you don't need to insult the reader by saying "she obviously had". It's the use of words and phrases that the author has probably used all her life, but are just plain wrong: somehow, I feel a Kimono dragon is just not quite as frightening as she intended.
All in all, I'd be happy to reread the 2nd edition, when a publisher picks it up, but I'm not likely to read another self-published Forsythe.