Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A. J. Myrfield: The Dagger of Souls

In her debut self-published novel A. J. Myrfield enters into the world of a small town and the life of Megan McAllister whose destiny is just about to be discovered and released, but first she needs to finish high school:

"What do you see when you look in the mirror?" Seems like such an easy question but when asked to write a poem about it Megan is struggling but she knows that in order to graduate High School English she need to write an amazing poem. This is that Megan does not know what she see within her reflection other that an ugly girl, who can never do anything right and a family life that is every deteriorating. Megan does not know that there is a destiny waiting for her outside of school outside of this life, but as she struggles with the bullying, the violence and the tragedies around her, it becomes a question of whether she will be able to survive to fulfill this destiny and save a world.

I do not read within the YA novel too often, and I am unsure of the topics that are normally discussed within the more contemporary novels. Within this novel Myrfield tackles many hard topics of bullying, racism, and at home family violence. This novel is very fast paced to the point that it feels like everything is happening at once and that Megan is never able to get any type of a break from the negative aspects around her. This book definitely keeps the emotions going, which is very similar to a teenager's every changing emotions especially when there are major events occurring.

You can tell that this is a debut novel, the writing style lacks the finesses and flow of a more seasoned writer and editor (I feel that the book still needs another really good edit). There are points where Myrfield uses too many words non descriptive words to try and pull a scenes together which affects the readers overall emersion into the story as well as the flow of the book. I did not like that when Detective Walters was always referred to as the detective. He has an important role in this book and I think he should be referred to as Detective Walters. It was also odd as this was the only person that Myrfield choose to refer to in this way every other character was referred to by their first name when the narration was about them. Myrfield's writing style does improve the farther the reader goes into the book, therefore, I think the farther into this series Myrfield's writing style will get better.

This novel is supposed to have a paranormal aspect to it, but other than Megan's ability to dream the future and the prologue of the book, the paranormal aspect is non-existent through more than half of the book, it only becomes apparent within the last few chapters of the book. I know that this is the first book in a six part series, and other than Megan's ability to dream the future, the paranormal aspect could have been left out and people would still enjoy the read. It will be interesting to see how Myrfield develops further in the future books.

I think that readers would become attached to Megan even without the paranormal aspect. Megan, is struggling with what teenagers normally do, who are they. This is well placed within the book with an English assignment to write a poem. Every teenager goes through the stage of not knowing who they are and that they are worthless, there are just some homes and school lives that help promote those feelings. I am very interested in the Dagger character and learning more about her powers and abilities, Mryfield does enough just to keep you interested and questions who the Dagger really is as a character. I find the contrast between the Dagger's world and belief's quite interesting and how it appeals that the Dagger has gone away from the ideals, beliefs and culture that were part of her life.

I think that the school and life dynamic that Myrfield has set up could be transferred to any school across the world. There is always going to bullying, racism and cliques within school, even though many will try to deny this. Will the bullying and racism always go to the side that it does within this novel, No, they can be more extreme or not, but the belief and acts are still there.

While I do not read in the YA genre that often, this novel tackles many hard hitting topics that I think will appeal to both YA and adults. I think that with time Myrfield's writing style will improve, but some readers may, at times find, it slightly harder to read than a seasoned writer. I think this is a good start to a new series and I am interested to see where Myrfield takes it, it has a very interesting and different type of ending. As Myrfield self published this novel, you can order and ebook or paperback copy from her website LoveLight Creations.


Note: This novel has many scenes and descriptions related to Bullying, Racism and Family Violence, therefore, please be warned about this ahead of time.

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  1. This is avail at chapters indigo and coles too! saw it there

  2. I think you were more charitable about the book than I would be. You're very right that the book is in serious need of editing, and I found that made it really hard to get into the story, because the bad grammar and poor phrasing often left me either confused or laughing. Megan did not feel real to me, not did most of the characters actually. I usually like books that deal with "hard themes," but I found the abuse and bullying were not very well handled in this book. I have seen much better treatments of these topics in fanfiction, which has the added benefit of being free, and often better edited. Myrfield should do some more research into effects and mechanisms of abuse before writing books about it, and she should get a good beta reader.

  3. Hi Jenny
    Thanks for your comment. I have sense heard from the A.J. and she has sent the book for a rework and re edit, so I think the second time release of the book will be better. I think it goes to show the determination of A.J. and the importance of constructive criticism.
    Thanks again

    1. I'm glad to hear she's re-working it, and I respect her willingness to go to that effort to improve. I don't know if I'll pick up the re-release if and when I see it, but who knows? Anyway I hope it works out for her.