Clint and Corbin are having a weird day. Best friends for life, things are getting a little strange around their town, and at school. When they’re followed by a strange man looking for Clint and later attacked by an imp, it makes sense to retreat to the safety of home. But when strangers from another world, Banks and O’Neil, arrive with their medley of allies, things get even weirder. Why are they here? What do they want? And what is The Requiem that everyone keeps talking about? As Clint and his friends and family are drawn deeper into a thrilling adventure, only one thing is for sure. They may not be getting out alive. And class with Mrs Christenson will seem like a walk in the park after this.GoodReads
I was given a copy of this book by the author and publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Requiem, Changing Times has a lot of potential, and with that potential it also has a lot of room for improvement. The foundation of the book, the first in a series, is strong. The world building is probably the strongest feature of the book – it’s interesting with it’s mix of sci-fi and dungeon and dragons like elements. I could see it having been done very well as a middle grade book – the same age as the main characters.
That being said, the book is in serious need of TLC. The grammatical errors were frequent (multiple mistakes on the same page), and many were major (sentences literally stopping with no punctuation, repeated words, ect.) which almost made the book unreadable in some places. Additionally, continuity was an issue throughout the book (a character’s name changes spelling frequently, another character’s age changes, ect).
I, personally, would also have cut the entire first 80 pages – all of which are spent with two characters, who then disappear for the entirety of the book and only return at the tail end. Cutting those pages would have made the massive book a bit more manageable (and honestly they’re slower than the rest of the novel), would not have effected the plot because when the characters return we’re with a character who is not familiar with them and thus doesn’t know about the events of the first 80 pages, and then those pages could have been released separately as a prequel novella.
Overall, the characters are not as developed as the world – they’re definitely the weak point of the novel, which is a shame. Most have the complexity of a Disney Channel show. Which, honestly, would have worked very well if this was a middle grade book and the author leaned into it. However, it felt like he wanted to be serious and so there was a disconnect. I’ve read novels where the majority of characters are children, yet they are still given fully fleshed out personalities and don’t rely on clichés to float through the plot. Additionally, multiple people died and at one point a child dies right in front of everyone and there is literally no emotional reaction – no grief, no acknowledgement that these children have witnessed death. Nothing.
Most unfortunately of all is the underlying misogyny throughout the novel. The only female characters who are shown in a pleasant light are the females that the male protagonist likes – mainly the one kind girl at school who he has a crush on and his mother. The “mean” teacher is described as ugly, the “annoying” popular girl is depicted as an airhead. Most glaringly is the older goth sister who, due to dressing in dark clothing and preferring the company of her boyfriend and friends (who the main protagonist doesn’t like, and therefore must be horrid) is at one point given an intervention by an older character, who at that point is a stranger, who essentially tells her if she was where he was from she’d be dead. Only after she decides to dress “normal” and break up with her boyfriend does the main character comment on how pretty and nice she is. There’s another older sister playing the part of the stereotypical “so self absorbed she literally doesn’t notice something amiss right in front of her face, to an exaggerated and comic effect”. There is at least two females in the crew – but I think one died and the other didn’t speak much.
I feel like I need to reiterate that the bones of the book are good. I could see where it could be good. I appreciated some of the plot points that were hit and the bravery of the author to stick with them. However, it is in desperate need a serious editor. I would not give up on it, but I would give it a bit more love and continue to work on it.