Review by ThomasCShearman1976 -- The Hand Bringer

This forum is for volunteer reviews by members of our review team. These reviews are done voluntarily by the reviewers and are published in this forum, separate from the official professional reviews. These reviews are kept separate primarily because the same book may be reviewed by many different reviewers.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
ThomasCShearman1976
Posts: 100
Joined: 13 Apr 2020, 10:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 92
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-thomascshearman1976.html
Latest Review: Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Review by ThomasCShearman1976 -- The Hand Bringer

Post by ThomasCShearman1976 »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Hand Bringer" by Christopher J. Penington.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Hand Bringer is an ambitious, century-spanning vampire action book with bounteous splashes of battles, love, and heroism.

Chris Pennington has a clear love for the vampire genre and Romania. He asks the reader to time travel from the present USA to medieval Romania, following a team of agents in their quest to change the course of history. They must defeat a vampire army, led by Dracula, to save the modern world. Their key weapon is a street cop called Hadrian. Experiments on Hadrian have made him immune to vampire bites and given him superhuman strength.

The initial set-up in the modern world is perhaps a little too drawn out - the best parts of the book are those set in the past. Once in Romania, there are some touching historical and anecdotal details. You get the sense of the author’s love for the area and era.

Once in Romania, it’s almost a non-stop slew of fights, deceptions, and revenge. Our agents become knights, fight, create armies, and fight more. They eventually confront the true enemy of the book, a huge vampire army.

Dracula is the central evil point, the counterbalance to our heroic Hadrian. It’s a classic good versus evil set-up and several subplots mirror this, with various levels of success. The protagonists flip emotions quickly and inconsistently, stunting some of their development. Love stories abound, particularly the crossbreed vampire/human ones, albeit none hook you because they are not sensitively enough drawn. There are some heart-wrenching decisions as the book nears its conclusion.

The Hand Bringer never takes itself too seriously. The writer invents backstories on the hoof or to make a scene more believable, there are some odd asides at crucial moments and the battles are dizzyingly chaotic. Accept those flaws and what you have is a bouncing holiday read, with enough plotline to keep you going.

What I liked most about The Hand Bringer was the hero, Hadrian. You can almost hear the trumpets blaring as he rides in to save the day, or rescues his friends or troops from danger. He has layers; loyalty and love create internal conflict. He also dwells upon the consequences of his actions for both the present and the past.

There are some well-hidden plot twists, too. Chris Pennington produces several surprises. It’s difficult to weave together two worlds with endless consequences for every action, yet he moves his characters around with some skill and always with plenty of motive. There are, however, some missed opportunities to develop the drama.

What I disliked most about the book was the clunky dialogue of many characters. Peter has two present-day companions with him in Romania called Bat and Luke. Both are ridiculously overdrawn, and the badinage is excruciating. Bat’s hillbilly redneck grates against Luke’s ‘articulate’ persona. This is just one example of many annoying speech traits the author lumbers his characters with.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. There is an engaging story in the book and fans of this genre will love it. The Hand Bringer could be a very successful film if properly edited. The book loses a star because of the dialogue, confusing action scenes and inability to fully explore its potential.

It will appeal to all vampire fans and people who like heroic fantasy and medieval battles. It won’t appeal to people looking for authentic horror stories or top-quality, evocative writing.

******
The Hand Bringer
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
User avatar
Leen282
Posts: 761
Joined: 28 Mar 2020, 00:53
2021 Reading Goal: 26
Currently Reading: Recycled Hope
Bookshelf Size: 99
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-leen282.html
Latest Review: Beautifully Scarred by Cewanda Todd

Post by Leen282 »

I like comparing notes to see how others liked, or disliked, reading books that I read as well. I loved the book, and agree with you that it's certainly film material.
User avatar
DBNJ
Posts: 304
Joined: 25 Jan 2020, 10:46
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 60
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dbnj.html
Latest Review: Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi

Post by DBNJ »

It is not an easy task to write Sci-fi novels that will keep the reader drawn into the story till the very end. This requires lot of imagination and creative ability form the author, so the events unfold in the story need to be interesting and attractive to the reader. Perhaps, that may be one of the reasons you may not enjoyed the book pretty much. Thanks for the honest and descriptive review! :tiphat:
‘In a world that increasingly obsesses over the gods of power, money, and fame, a writer must remain detached, like a bird on a rail, watching, noting, probing, commenting, but never joining. In short, an outsider.”

-Fredrick Forsyth
User avatar
ThomasCShearman1976
Posts: 100
Joined: 13 Apr 2020, 10:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 92
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-thomascshearman1976.html
Latest Review: Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by ThomasCShearman1976 »

Leen282 wrote: 16 May 2020, 03:15 I like comparing notes to see how others liked, or disliked, reading books that I read as well. I loved the book, and agree with you that it's certainly film material.
Hi Leen282 - if it were made into a film, I would definitely watch it.
:D
User avatar
ThomasCShearman1976
Posts: 100
Joined: 13 Apr 2020, 10:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 92
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-thomascshearman1976.html
Latest Review: Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by ThomasCShearman1976 »

DBNJ wrote: 16 May 2020, 04:18 It is not an easy task to write Sci-fi novels that will keep the reader drawn into the story till the very end. This requires lot of imagination and creative ability form the author, so the events unfold in the story need to be interesting and attractive to the reader. Perhaps, that may be one of the reasons you may not enjoyed the book pretty much. Thanks for the honest and descriptive review! :tiphat:
Hi DBNJ, Sci-fi/fantasy do need a lot of imagination, I agree. This book could have easily been a 3 or 4-star review from me, the writer missed a few tricks, for my taste.
User avatar
book_fanatic_
Posts: 457
Joined: 14 Apr 2020, 00:32
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-book-fanatic.html
Latest Review: Wonder by Jon Trovato

Post by book_fanatic_ »

Vampires, mysteries, twists, and adventures! This book seems to be a whole interesting package. Will give it a try soon. Thanks for the detailed and well-structured review.
She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live. - Annie Dillard
Latest Review: Wonder by Jon Trovato
User avatar
ThomasCShearman1976
Posts: 100
Joined: 13 Apr 2020, 10:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 92
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-thomascshearman1976.html
Latest Review: Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by ThomasCShearman1976 »

book_fanatic_ wrote: 26 May 2020, 11:12 Vampires, mysteries, twists, and adventures! This book seems to be a whole interesting package. Will give it a try soon. Thanks for the detailed and well-structured review.
Great! It's definitely worth reading :)
bookreviewmi1111
Posts: 845
Joined: 11 Mar 2020, 05:13
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 44
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookreviewmi1111.html
Latest Review: Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide by William H. Coles

Post by bookreviewmi1111 »

I liked the book, but I see your criticism here in this book and why you did not rate it 3/4 or 4/4, it was detailed. Thanks for the honest review!
Post Reply

Return to “Volunteer Reviews”