Review: Rosinanti by Kevin Kessler

Reviewed by Ronelle

Aleksandra, Seraphina, Valantean, and Kayden live in a world where the Rosinanti Dragons are nothing but legend. Humans rule the world of Terra and have done so peacefully for at least a millennia. But ancient evil has begun to stir once more, and for Val and Kayden, those old legends may hold the key to their past. As the awful truth of the Rosinanti’s supposed extinction comes to light, the four must embark upon a mission to maintain order and light.

Lifelong friends will face down the resurgence of the Rosinanti legacy, combat the greatest threat their world has ever known, and choose more personal sides amongst themselves.

***

Epic fantasy is my jam, man, and I’ve been avidly devouring the genre for decades. So when Rosinanti promised me princesses, dragons, magic, and an epic quest for all that is good and light, I was excited. But what I found was something less than worthy of that excitement.

The characters, while not paper-doll flat, lacked the development and complexity I’ve come to expect from full-length novels. I liked them well enough, but the good guys were almost too good and the bad guys were obvious. The pace would’ve been great if it weren’t for all the verbal baggage. On that note, I wish someone had done Mr. Kessler the service of telling him to tone it down a bit. All those adjectives and adverbs and repetitive phrases really bogged things down. Rosinanti also suffered from an acute case of Thesaurusitis—the (over)use of synonyms in an attempt to elevate writing. I agree with Stephen King’s view on words: The first word that comes to mind is usually the best. Phrases like “unctuous pride” and *shudder* “…signifying the superior ilk from which he commanded his compatriots” made the narrative snooty and kind of killed the immersion factor.

Maybe the problem was rooted in the fact that Mr. Kessler developed the idea for Rosinanti as a sophomore in high school. Nobody’s creative genius is fully developed at that age, and I have a suspicion that his adult self didn’t do a whole lot of tinkering before publication. From the villain standing on a mountain top, plotting his vengeance upon the unsuspecting folk below to revelations-via-benevolent-spirit to feeling the need to tell the reader that someone grasped a pair of daggers by their handles, the narrative was overdone. Everything was laid out in the most minute detail, and while it occasionally made for beautiful scenes (like the source of magic in the north), more often it felt as if Mr. Kessler didn’t trust his reader to have an imagination.

The typos almost took a back seat to the above issues, but they were present and mainly of the Unholy Duo variety; missing words (usually articles) and wrong words (“feeling” instead of “fleeing”, “of” instead of “off”). And yes, those have become so prevalent in the books I’ve read lately that I’ve given them a collective name. Awkwardly placed and arbitrary section breaks (in the middle of conversations and battles where perspective wasn’t changing) interrupted the flow and immersion as well.

On a more positive note, Rosinanti did address several deep themes—rebirth, the duality of good and evil on a level beyond mortal heroes and villains, the importance of self-discipline, the role of destiny in our choices—and did it well. I could tell that Mr. Kessler made an effort to develop these aspects of his story and I applaud him for that. He also crafted beautiful creatures and a unique world… I just wish those gems had been allowed to shine on their own merits, without all the superfluous verbal excess.

Bottom line: “’…a blood-plunged celebration of vengeance…’ and other melodramatic phrases as well!” would be the tagline if this book were a movie. And by movie, I mean one of those B-list things from the 70’s with the taped-together cardboard monsters. I suppose my primary complaints about Rosinanti boil down to style and execution, but I just couldn’t get past that enough to love this book.

Rating: C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Rosinanti
by Kevin J Kessler
Release Date: May 20, 2016

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