A Study of Fiber and Demons
Author: Jasmine Gower
Title: A Study of Fiber and Demons
Genre: High Fantasy
Pairing: M/M/F, Poly, Ace, Bi
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website:
When Alim is exposed by his rival Liam for academic corruption, his career in the Pinnacle University of Scholarly Magic is destroyed, and only a breakthrough in the study of the highly-profitable essence known as demonweave will be enough to regain his standing.
His efforts to restore his reputation are disrupted by the University, however, when they assign him to uncover a means to replicate the production of demonweave, along with a team of experts on demon magic: his nemesis, Liam; his primary competitor in the field of demon research, Sylvestra; and the handsome and tender-hearted professor, Jack.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Alim is well-aware the University intends to sell demonweave to mages for a hefty profit, and they will expect their researchers to do whatever it takes to discover a way to control the production of demonweave, even at the risk of the demons who create it—and there's no telling how the demons will retaliate.
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Despite his less than illustrious past, Alim is still considered an expert on demonweave. When a team is put together to go out and study it, Alim is therefore chosen. Except, the people also chosen on his team are his arch enemies. It's a mission bound for failure. Alim just doesn't know how bad it will all be when it's all over.
Someone desperately needed to pull Gower aside before this story was published and explain that "fiber" is not a word that will draw readers. Fiber has certain connotations that don't have much to do with fantasy literature. It certainly almost kept me from requesting this story. I suspect that had the title simply been "A Study of Demons", I wouldn't have been nearly so reticent to give it a try. (There is an identified psychological impact of titles and covers that all major publishing companies utilize to entice readers, so I don't think my saying this in a review is too off base.) That said, the cover was interesting enough that I did decide to pick the book up and I was happy to learn that fiber was a magical term of some importance in the book.
I found many parts of this story to be equally poorly composed. For example, the characters themselves were interesting, yet at the same time not a single one of them was actually likeable. Being able to identify with the characters is a big aspect to pulling readers into a story and that just wasn't possible here. None of the characters were good people--in fact most of them are so deeply flawed that I couldn't help wondering if they were actually the villains of the story. In some ways that makes them more human and providing that flawed aspect does show good writing ability, but without anything to draw me in, they only made the beginning of the story drag. In fact, the story didn't actually pick up until the demons arrived, which is towards the end, and that was only because some world building was finally included.
I picked this book up despite the less than inviting title and, while I didn't think it was bad, I did think much of it was poorly composed. The characterizations were mostly unlikable and that greatly hurt my overall enjoyment of this story. I therefore cannot recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.