When the Gods Slept is the first book in Allan Cole’s Timuras trilogy and I am debating whether I should read the other two books or not. Generally, I don’t like writing a review until I have read all the books in a trilogy, but I also have a strict rule against paying for additional books when the initial story is pedestrian at best. If I could develop a rating system it would not be based on stars or numbers or thumbs, but on cost. For example, if an author and his/her work is outstanding I would give it a “BUY THE HARD COVER VERSION AT FULL PRICE.” If the book is good I would give it a “BUY THE PAPERBACK VERSION.” And if the book is mediocre, like this one, I would give it the ‘ole “GET ON YOUR BIKE AND GO TO THE LIBRARY FOR A COPY.”
At first I thought When the Gods Slept was the work of a new author (for reasons explained below) but actually I found out this is a re-print of a book that was first published in 1998. Here is the kicker: the book is filled with typos. I don’t mean the odd “ths”, “tat” or “other the thing.” I mean one in every 20 pages. Sometimes multiple typos on the same page. What is truly unforgivable is that this is a REPRINT. Did they have to be so faithful to the original that they preserved every error?!?
At first I wondered if the reprint was the culprit. Perhaps in the scanning of the old book into the new, the new editor didn’t bother to do a spell check afterward. However, when I researched further (I looked at the reviews on Amazon) I found that the original print had the same errors (or at least just as many). Who is the brain that insisted on reprinting this novel complete with typos?
Anyway, the story is based in part on Arabian mythology. An interesting concept, but the author fails to distinguish between humans and demons. At first the demons are kind of like Klingons — honor, good death, nobility — and humans are portrayed as slimebags. But then the author decides that he wants to add depth and not alienate the human readers… so the races switch moral characteristics.
Further, he tries to accomplish too much and fails to give his characters the depth and dimension he promises at the start of the novel. Midway through the book (at about the same time that the demons show their true colors) the hero puts on his white suit and the villain puts on his black suit. From that point on everything becomes very predictable. No surprises here. No fun as well.
I debated for awhile about whether to read the other books in the Timuras trilogy when I can get them for free from the library (I refuse to pay for this many typos), or shelf the whole thing and read something else. I have decided that I have no problem with giving this book a mediocre rating and moving on with my life — I don’t want to waste time better spent reading better fiction.
I’m giving When the Gods Slept three stars and a “GO TO THE LIBRARY” rating.
FanLit thanks Will Daniels for this contribution to our site!
Timuras — (1997-1999) When the Gods Slept was also published as Wizard of the Winds. From author’s website: King of Kings, lord over men and demons alike. Only one ruler had ever held that title, and now Iraj Protarus, an orphaned prince exiled to a small village high in the Valley of the Clouds, dreamed of being the next great conqueror. The key to his destiny would be Safar Timura, a youth with an awesome gift for sorcery whose visions foretold Iraj’s rise to power.