As I promised yesterday, I read Owned by the Dark Dragon by Hollie Hutchins. This is a title that placed in the Kindle Top 100 Free, and part of a genre that emphasizes suggestive titles and lurid covers. The prospective reader will expect highly erotic content. In this case, the reader would be totally disappointed unless he is maybe a high-school student.
I will do my best to be fair to the author while remaining honest for the reader’s sake. A reviewer’s duty is to the reader.
First, this novella (really a long, short story) is in first-draft condition. It seems to be a first writing; it lacks even the most minimal editing. The following are examples from the first few pages.
…hoping to further herself from the chaos.
A correct usage would be …hoping to distance herself from the chaos
Sinome spoke as he titled his head towards her,…
I hope he “tilted” rather than titled.
…regardless of how bazzar it all must be for her.
I think the author meant to use the word “bizarre.”
It would take me hours to correct all the subject/verb disagreements, changes in verb tense, passive voice use, etc. This author should have gotten at least a few beta readers to go over her draft and corrected the most glaring errors.
Next, The story runs like the proverbial bat out of hell. There is absolutely no scene development and less character development. This could have been a much longer and better tale if it was not told in first-person, marathon style. It has a very good premise. I like the Central Park initial setting, and for the genre of fantasy, the storyline has potential.
Probably the most important aspect needing criticism is what the story promises but does not deliver. It’s clear that the cover and title are implicitly promising an erotic read (not to mention the blurb). This is significant in the light that people buying this genre may not be looking for great grammar, but they do want significant erotic content. In this book, there is none.
There is a scene where a dragon (the dark one) does a little light lapping of breasts. Later, the rescuing hero has some very confusing (to the reader) sex with the protagonist. There is something about a “bright pink star,” and a lot of confusion about what exactly he is doing. If you are looking for a titillating, erotic read, this is not it.
All having been said, I must say that the author has potential. She obviously likes to write, and with some time spent developing scenes, fleshing out characters, some proof-reading help, she could put out a good manuscript.
It seems to me that the author may be a young college student trying out her wings as a writer or hoping to make a quick buck. She definitely handles the sex scenes without insight or finesse.
She could make money writing in the erotica genre even with bad grammar, but she must provide the intense, descriptive, well-written content that erotica readers seek. By failing to provide that, she will not get her customers to come back. I think she would be better served by writing just pure fantasy and using covers that reflect that.
On the Amazon scale, I will give her two stars. Readers looking for erotic content will be far less generous. I do wish she’d get editing help and emphasize the fantasy part of her work. In the future, I’d love to read something by her that showed such growth. Authors are not born. We are made through hard work and the learning of the craft just as other artists are made.
Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms
-In the morning, the friends awaken to find the elves have gone.
-Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave the main road and cut through the
wilderness just in time before a Black Rider appears.
-The group ends up in Farmer Maggot’s house. He tells them that a dark
stranger on a black horse is searching for Frodo.
-Farmer Maggot gets them to the ferry crossing in secret.
Short cuts make long delays.
Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked
-A glimpse of a Black Rider happens as they disembark from the ferry.
-At Crickhollow, Merry and Pippin disclose that they know all about the
– It’s decided that Merry and Pippin will join the quest. They all break into
song for the third time.
_Frodo has a disturbing dream that night.
Chapter 6: The Old Forest
away from their destination.
-They reach the Withywindle, a river edged and surrounded by willows.
-A spell renders the friends asleep.
-Enter (singing) the ridiculously cheerful and colorful character Tom Bombadil,
-They arrive as guests at Tom Bombadil’s house.