The Curse Of The Spider King — Day 2


Today is day 2 of the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour, and our book is THE CURSE OF THE SPIDER KING (COTSK), a new novel written by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper.

Today I want to cover a few minor-minor-minor things that could be improved in the book.

Yesterday’s review was over-the-top-excellent, so today I want to balance it out a wee little bit. Okay, so it won’t balance it out—the book is that good.

Anyway, here are my thoughts, and remember, there may be some plot spoilers below. Click to read on.

The Number of Main Characters

Seven main characters? Before I read that book I thought it was a bit much. When I read the book, I was able to keep track, but it was a bit hard here and there, especially regarding the “extras” around the main characters.

When you spread out the feelings of concern too thinly, its hard to be fully engaged. Most novels only have one main character, so this was a stretch.

My thought is that reducing it to say, five, or even three, would have heightened the drama by allowing us to focus on each one in greater detail. A lot of the action had to be skipped for many of them just to keep the book a publishable size.

The History Of Berinfell

For me, once the Elven Lords were dead and the babes taken, I didn’t care to follow the action quite so much. It would have been more exciting to show in detail the Elven Lord battle, and have that happen near the end of the history presentation.

As it was I read the whole history, but to be honest, I wanted to skip a lot of it.

I just didn’t see the point … what did the little skirmishes really matter in the big picture. Yes, they saved lives by causing a diversion, but that could have been covered very quickly.

I wanted to get back to Earth and the peril the teenagers were going through.

“Incredibly Difficult” to “Incredibly Easy”

Sometimes it seemed impossible to fight against the Drefids. For instance, Kat nearly died trying to get to her house, but once they made it past a rock wall, somehow they were safe? Why were they safe in the house? How did they ever leave the house, get to an airport, and leave? Their car was completely wrecked, and Drefids guarded the road.

Maybe if they had killed the Drefids I would have understood. Maybe the editors cut that part!

Anyway … the difficult battles were written well, but it made me wonder how and why it got easy after that.

The Battle At Dalhousie Castle

The battle was great. Well written, but two things didn’t make sense. How could 200+ Elven sentinals (A) not be prepared with weapons at all times, and (B) not realize the enemy might attack them in force before they went through the portal.

Also, arc-rifles were used at the beginning, but then they weren’t used anymore. This was convenient, and allowed Kiri Lee to walk above the crowd dropping weapons. A single arc-rifle would have taken her out. Even a bow of some sort.

Another thing — I am confused about the spiders. Many spider here on earth can jump fifty times their height. If that spider were scaled upwards, they could have easily jumped on Kiri Lee and taken her down. Seemed like they were tamed down a bit.

But It’s All Right

Now I’m going to backup and say that all the above criticisms are not serious. As a young adult novel, most of these issues are moot. As an adult and fellow-fiction writer (albeit unpublished), I read with a very critical eye.

Also, I see all the same faults in my own writing. For instance, I’m working up a battle scene right now, and it is REALLY tempting to orchestrate things so the battle goes the way I want it to go. Every author does this, but the trick is to do it in such a way that it is completely invisible to the reader.

Wayne and Chris … you two did a GREAT job writing this novel. My hat is off to you.


Come back tomorrow for Day 3, where I cover the spiritual content of the book.

Endurance and Victory!

CSFF Blog Tour

7 thoughts on “The Curse Of The Spider King — Day 2

  1. Phyllis—On the battles, I figured most wouldn’t catch my nit-picks, so that’s why I back-pedaled at the end. About the number of protagonists, if you asked me which ones I’d eliminate, I’d have to say: none! Ah, well!

    KM—Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Robert, great point. I told a friend while I was reading the book that I thought they skipped things–went from point A to C. But when she pressed me for an example, I couldn’t remember any. In other words, I noticed the problem, but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story. Your example of Kat getting out past the Drefids is the kind of thing I was thinking about. It didn’t happen often or it would have become a distraction.

    I didn’t notice the battle issues you mentioned, though I see them now that you point them out.

    Here’s where I wish publishers would slow the process down and let writers write great books rather than being OK with very good ones.

    I think most of us on the tour say we loved this story but there are these areas that could improve …

    Great post, Robert.


  3. Good thoughts. I disagree about going back and forth, I really enjoyed it. I found that I was eager to read both storylines at the same time.

    There were a few holes as you mentioned. Maybe I just didn’t follow, but the whole sequence of events when the first boy bumped into the girl at the castle… the order of things didn’t seem right. Or maybe it was just that there were too many kids to keep up with.

    But as you’ve said, it was a great book and these problems really are minor… forgettable even.

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