Reviewed by Helen Wyatt
Schism: Battle for Darracia (Book 1) by Michael Phillip Cash is the first in a trilogy of fantasy sci-fi books. I felt that whilst the book got off to bit of a slow start, once I had gotten used to the characters and their language (which initially feels quite formal/old fashioned) then I really began to enjoy the book. Michael allows you to really get to know the main characters, and gives you insights into their behaviours and thoughts. He spends time with each character, exploring their relationships and the colourful descriptions really empower the reader to conjure up a mental image.
You are taken on a journey of exploration, both of the planet, the class system, and of the minds of the characters; Michael Phillip Cash covers a huge range of topics in this relatively short fantasy sci-fi novel, from young adults exploring their diversity, to sex and relationships, spirituality, the fight between good and evil, and a key theme of class structures.
What niggled me however were the numerous spelling mistakes which did slightly spoil it, as I expected not to see that sort thing in a published novel; they detracted from the telling of the story far too much, when I was just getting into things. As mentioned at the outset of this review I also found the more formal/old fashioned language of the characters difficult to get into, and stilted in places. There was a huge amount of blood, guts and gore – possibly more than strictly necessary to tell the tale.
Once I had taken in enough of the detail of the planet system and the character relationships then I certainly enjoyed the book a lot more; you could argue however that there was too much going at the beginning in terms of detail, meaning it was a little bit too much like hard work to start with, ending with a lot of fast paced bloody gut-slicing action which could be interpreted as the author trying to squeeze too much into a particular set page count.
This was however a mostly very enjoyable read that I raced through at the end, full of intrigue and interesting twists and turns. If you enjoy sci-fi/fantasy themes and are willing to put in the initial effort to get to know the planet and characters then you’ll be rewarded.
RRP: £7.99 (paperback, ISBN: 9781493572441)
Available to buy from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats here.