Surviving a Bad Book – Shadow’s Rise

shadow's rise

Shadow’s Rise – Return of the Cabal by Joseph Bailey.

The author was handing out free samples at back in ’13, so I took a chance.  Obviously, with it ending up in a Surviving a Bad Book post, you know I lost that toss of the dice. The original review was a copy over from Goodreads, hence all the gobbledy gook instead of actual links.

Sadly, gobbledy gook is a great way to describe the sample I read. I suspect the whole book was just as bad.  Basically, this book was every mistake that a writer without talent and without the patience to hone his skills could make. It was laughably amateurish and should not have ever seen the light of day.

When I was perusing my Calibre library and saw this 1star Gem, I had to wonder if it was really as bad as I thought it was. So I headed over to Librarything. Mine was the only review and I think this review “might” have been the one that started me using the “Bloviated” tag. Next I headed over to Booklikes and once again mine was the only review. Holding my nose, I went to Goodreads and there was the reason this got on my SaBB list. It was mostly 4 and 5stars with everyone gushing about how this was the best book ever. I wondered if we had read the same book? Then I started looking at some of the language in the reviews. Bunch of schills. Whether paid or not, I don’t know. But they all stank to high heaven. Finally, I went to Amazon and while there were a couple of honest reviews, most of them once again were comparing this to Tolkien.

Personal tastes in books differ, greatly. But when it comes to good and bad writing, some of that stuff is NOT subjective. This was bad writing and needed several years of practice before being made available for public consumption. This is the exact model of a book and author that I picture when someone says “Indie Writer”. An idea that was not backed up in the execution of the writing.

Thankfully, I only dealt with the sample. That’s why I “Survived” 🙂





34 thoughts on “Surviving a Bad Book – Shadow’s Rise

  1. I was once at a reading where a poet who called herself a beat actually included the line: “I never knew I could be so beat-boppy.” That was a wake up call. Some stuff is just plain bad and you cannot run away from it.

    I’m a stoic by nature, and I can even endure a frigginhg bad book (or bad poetry), but sometimes it’s so hard, because my time on earth is so damn precious.

    The Stoic idea is to be dispassionate in the sense of not reacting emotionally or egotistically to external events – the things we cannot hope to determine. I have found that such dispassion, when combined with interest (for it should not mean indifference), increases my contentment. That’s why I keep on reviewing bad books. I knew a guy who only reviewed 5-star books. That woudn’t been fun as far as I’m concerned. When I’m in the mood I can bash a book real good…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never went to a poetry reading. Especially those angry amateur ones where they confuse ranting in rhyme with poetry. I have enough “feelings” of my own to deal with without adding the burden of other peoples first world problems.

      Which leads into stoicism. I am NOT a stoic. I wish I was, but sadly, my feelings have a way of dragging me all over the place. I have achieved the lofty rank of being able to not act on them now, but that took years of realizing just what was going on. Which is why I tend to not get into arguments online with anyone I follow because I’ll escalate things so quickly without thinking about the longterm consequences. It feels like I have an Off option and a Nuclear option and nothing in between 😀

      As for books. How does one pre-determine that the book they’re going review is 5stars? Or is it that he’d read a lot but only review the 5star ones? If the latter, what a waste and I’d go so far as to call it dishonest. And hurray for book bashing! I have to admit, I’m enjoying this Surviving a Bad Book series.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In recent years I’ve reviewed lots of books with not a single review… Some of those books even after some time only have one review: mine. Here’s an example on my backup site for reviews with a book with only my review:

        My criteria for choosing books depend on a lot of factors, and one of them is not how hip they’re. Some times I even go out of my way to choose something “entirely different”, as the Monty Python would put it. Are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

        Maybe what you’re trying to say is that I’ve never read one of your books. Is that it?

        (*psst* hey cagedunn,; can you hear me whispering to you? Between just you and me, I’m not sure you’d want me reading one of your books…)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. No, I wasn’t saying that (I don’t beg for reviews, I ask specific people, I give a free copy to some, and don’t beat around the bush), and having looked through your stuff, my stuff is probably aimed at a much younger age-bracket (YA, mostly). I’m very pleased to ‘meet’ at least one person who reviews something out there in the ‘no reviews yet’ category. I also have a policy for reviewers – I have no expectation and they are under no obligation. I consider it takes as much effort to write a review (and as thick a skin sometimes considering how much bullying goes on) as it does to publish your work. And what I don’t look for is a brown-nose – if I can learn something, improve the story in some way, I’m (almost) all ears. As a person who reads many, many, many books and stories (non- and fiction and anything in between [except poetry, unless …] ), so short story long, I like to hear what a reader has to say, whatever it is they say, and anyone who’s rude to reviewers, for any reason, is off my list of ‘to be read’ – because they didn’t listen and learn. So, no – I don’t want you reading one of my stories, but thank you for being a person who reads widely and includes the ‘new’ work. That’s a sincere sentiment, so please don’t take it as anything other than a ‘thank you’.


  2. Not all indies are the same, though, and using the pre-read should tell the buyer/reviewer whether it’s worth continuing. Please don’t give up on indies just for this one example of the crooks – please!
    There are a lot of people out there who get family and friends to create persona’s to do reviews on their books – easily distinguished, because they just say things like ‘great’ – ‘loved it’ – ‘best thing ever’ etc. without ever giving a valid review of the story. Oh, the guys who ‘steal’ stories and republish them as their own, or without permission from the publisher, have the same distinct look/sound/feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cagedunn, my overall disgust with indies [with a few exceptions like Dalzelle, Michael Sullivan for example] has a very deep foundation. It is way more than this one book.

      To be blunt. Most indies are like used cars salesmen. As a group, the bad cliches apply across the whole group. You are blessed to find a couple that don’t, but as a whole, they’re bad.

      And honestly, don’t worry so much about what I think of indies 🙂 It doesn’t impact you at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, but it does – I, too, am Indi. An author who writes stories no one wants to read because they didn’t go through the grist mill, and have no paid reviewers to pave the way … or am I being cynical?


        1. Cagedunn the fellow reader is more than welcome here. Please believe that.

          But if you identify more as a writer than a reader, then I suggest, for both our sakes and peace of mind, that you stop following me.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. As a reader, I couldn’t find the stories I wanted to read, so I became a writer (although, I have always told tales to my siblings). Shouldn’t all writers be also readers? Shouldn’t they understand what it is a reader seeks in the words of story? I love reading how people take in the story, how they react, why they feel the way they do. And it annoys me that some people [I have to say people, but I mean the cheats] don’t do the right thing, aren’t honest in how they get people to speak about their stories, or other stuff. I’d like to do the right thing, and therefore, I like to ‘hear’ what readers say about stories (and I do still love stories).


    1. Yeah, I’ve never understood it either. the only thing I could figure is that it makes them feel good, kind of like those “everybody gets a trophy” trophies they hand out at kids sporting events now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh gosh I cannot stand schills- I don’t know what it is exactly, but I can spot when someone just seems like they’re being paid to sell me something (maybe it’s just how lacklustre it is and the fact that they rate everything 4+ stars) Also, I’m instantly turned off by anything compared to Tolkein- it tends to mean “copied” (in my opinion). Darn this sounds so bad- but gotta say, that’s why I love samples so much- so easy to give up on rubbish then!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, schills have that “quality” about them. I know what you mean about not being able to pin it down exactly yet know them when you see it.

      I kind of wish I had read more samples back in the day. Might have saved me a bit.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree with you 2. You can ALWAYS tell if it’s schills.. they often call it ‘the best thing they ever read and please everyone try it!’ And then they don’t go into depth at all and say what exactly they liked.

        And I do hate that everything needs to be compared to Tolkien etc. Everything is ‘The new this and that’. Who wants to read a copy?
        … And in lots of cases it doesn’t have anything in common at all with the ‘original’, only the genre 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yep, having elves in your book doesn’t make you the successor to Tolkien. Heck Brooks and McKiernan almost copy/pasted back in the late 70’s, early 80’s and no one now calls them his successor,not anything so nice!

          Liked by 2 people

  4. When I encounter a book I don’t like and see only gushing reviews, I always wonder what’s wrong with me 😀 but once I look deeper into the phrasing I discover that they are always quite generic comments that have nothing do to with the story or the writing quality. I’ve come to be quite wary of that kind of comment…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhh, I’ve seen those “indie author” books getting massive praise when it actually turns out to be utter.. sh*t… Nice to see a sampler being useful in this case. Definitely something to look for when undecided on if you should read something or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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