My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Originally a Wattpad publication, The Polaris Whisper, by Kenneth Gregory appears to be a self-published book through the services of The Black Staff Press. I received a PDF copy of Gregory’s debut novel through Black Staff on Net Galley.
The novel has all the potential of a truly great novel: great subject matter, interesting characters, a delicious melange of history and mythology. Set during the Dark Ages (the early to mid 1st century) amid Norse raids on Ireland, Iona, and England, the story follows the lives of a disinherited and exiled Norseman, Vidar, the son he places into foster care for protection, and the people (including a dwarf from a society with prescient talent) who form his association. The main thrust of this, the first of a planned series of novels, is Vidar’s quest to find a glacial cave which is a portal. A portal to what, we never find out, but the dwarf who charges Vidar with this quest has invested considerable wealth and his life into the undertaking.
There are intrigues and loves lost and found, betrayal of friendship, tests of courage.
And while all of this has, as I wrote, the potential of a great novel, it falls short for all the same reasons so many novels fall short: lack of a good developmental editor. Along with the need for a developmental editor is the need for a good copy editor, as there were many punctuation errors as well as errors in word usage. Certainly were I Gregory, and if my supposition is correct that he paid Black Staff to publish his book, I’d be a mite miffed with the lack of quality services.
A decent entry, in my opinion, enough that I’d entertain reading the next instalment. However, let us hope Gregory undertakes to surround himself with more qualified editors.