The third Popfiction launch title gets reviewed today. The line looks promising so far. The fourth and final launch title will be reviewed tomorrow.

General Information

Title: Witches’ Forest (The Adventures of Duan Surk, Book One of Four)
Author: Mishio Fukazawa
Original Publication Date: The English language edition was published this month.
ISBN: 159532870X
Cover Price: $7.99 US, $10.49 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Premise

A young adventurer looking to level up on a good quest gets some partners and adopts their quests as his own.

High Point

“If you really think about it, we’re breaking and entering and taking their stuff.”

Low Point

The sixteen and twenty four years old all have a ten year old sense of humour.

The Scores

The originality comes in the style and attitudes rather than the plot and setting. There is an odd mix of the real and unreal: we have moral realism with shades of grey, but the mechanics of leveling up complete with levels and experience points are odd, as are the inserted ads and character profiles. I give it 4 out of 6.

The imagery is functional, but not excessive. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well plotted, with interesting goals and attitudes. Moral ambiguities are addressed, particularly in areas that are common in these stories. All of the pieces are here, though they are doled out one at a time, very methodically. However, that’s primarily an editing issue. I give the story 5 out of 6.

The characterization is as I remember it from the teen fiction I read as a teen: depth is obtained by acting like a charicature and thinking something completely different. Like all of the PopFiction books being reviewed this week, it’s just the first in a series, so there may be room for further growth later. I suspect this primarily because we do see some depth from Agnis, who is the most personally involved in this particular story. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is good. It’s a fun adventure story that points out some of the trappings of the genre. I give it 5 out of 6.

The editing will get the same pass on typos as the other books in the line I’ve reviewed this week. In terms of story structure, there were a few more monster fights than were strictly necessary. The events of each fight had some sort of impact on the long term story, but there was no real need for some of these events to be distinct. (For example, the first Griffin attack and the Minotaur attack could have been combined, as the realizations by one character and the injury of another didn’t need to be in two fights, and the story could have moved ahead a little faster.) It just felt a little stretched out. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, despite the feeling that it’s a bit long, it’s still a good, fun story. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Witches’ Forest receives 31 out of 42.