Review: The Son of Nepal

The Son of Nepal, the first of the ‘Sons of Thunder’ series by rising author J.J Sylvester is a novel that shows potential through its 139 page length, but it is not without some of the flaws that most new authors have. Written and released on September 30th 2015, it would be the first piece of literature released by J.J Sylvester.

The Story

The story behind the Son of Nepal would follow the journey and tribulations of a young man named Johannan in 1460 Nepal as he leaves his village on a mission to seek out the Great Spirit in the Gobi Desert in order to restore the vision of his fiancé Ayushi. Upon reaching the Gobi Desert, he would soon meet the Great Spirit Soburin and the spirit Muhandae. He would eventually agree to the Spirit’s demands in order to restore Ayushi’s sight by becoming what is called a ‘Judge’ who will judge humanity and determine who is good and who is evil.

From what I have read, the story is one part Labours of Hercules, one part coming of age story and one part rising prophet. While this can create an interesting story if done correctly, but unfortunately it becomes muddied as little is actually revealed about why Johannan is selected to be a Judge or what the Spirits are planning behind closed curtains. I would suspect that this would be branched out later in the series, but for now it raises more questions than answers them. Another problem I have with the story is the created mythology that J.J Sylvester had created for the story. I give him credit for trying to create his own mythos, it is not an easy thing to do, but the problem is the further you read, the more it comes off as Christianity rather than an original mythos. I was a little disappointed that the author did not also try to include some of the pre-existing folklore of Nepal into the story, but it is his story to write.

The Characters

I will be honest, I didn’t like the characters. They felt like the all too common character tropes that are seen in novels with little distinction to make them stand out. To start off with the protagonist Johannan, he is more seen as the ‘Everyman’, an ordinary individual who is thrown into extraordinary situations. Despite his inner monologue, he still has the Everyman tropes of debating whether or not he should do what he is doing, wishing to return home, and the almost immediate acceptance of doing what Soburin asks. He also easily comes off as a ‘Mother’s boy’ as he continually talks about what his Mama thinks of his actions. On a side note, I was thrown off by Johannan’s name and decided to do a Google search and it came up with a jewelry designer in Stockholm Sweden. I can’t tell if this is a coincidence or great product placement, regardless I need to buy a birthday gift for my sister and I hear that they have a special on necklaces. The name comes off more Nordic than it does Nepali, though this is the only incidence of obscure names. The rest of the characters are essentially the Nepali list of stock characters with little to make them stand out in the story. Ayushi comes off more as a damsel in distress, contributing very little to the story with the exception of providing Johannan a motivation on his task. Johannan’s mother, I am sorry to say, comes off as a Nepali version of Andy Capp’s wife than an original character as she continually chased Johannan with a rolling pin for his antics. The Spirits such as Aneo again do not have any distinction or traits that make them stand out. None of them have shown any ulterior motives for their actions or complex emotions, so they come off as the traditionally depicted omnipotent gods.

The Writing Style

I will give J.J Sylvester his proper due that he created a cohesive story that is interesting from start to finish, but there was a moderately large problem that I found with it that is a common problem among writers. There is a lot of exposition in the story which in my opinion, breaks the cardinal rule of ‘Show, don’t tell’. One of the better examples of over-exposition would be found with the introduction of the Great Spirit Soburin and the spirit Muhandae where they go into great detail how they were there ‘when all the names of mankind had been written’ and ‘I am the be all and end all’. A suggestion for future books would be to show the characters portraying these acts instead of talking about them

Conclusion

J.J  Sylvester’s The Son of Nepal is an interesting novel that tries its best to create its own mythos and story, but unfortunately the novel falls almost flat with its characters and over-exposition. I would still recommend the novel to someone who wants to read a decent fiction novel.

If you are interested in checking out J.J Sylvester’s novel, it was available on Amazon here.

Be sure to check out J.J Sylvester’s website Tso Thunder here.

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