Our first impressions of Magenta Skies

Find out The Space Girls first impressions of SPSFC contestant, Magenta Skies: Rise of The Beserkers by J. R. Manga.

As part of the Self-Published Sci-Fi Competition, my team (The Space Girls) has been given 25 books to read. Of this initial allocation (or ‘slush pile’), we are reading the first 30% and then voting Yes or No on whether we’d like to continue reading further. You can see our full allocation in my previous blog.

Here are the team’s first impressions of Magenta Skies: Rise of the Beserkers by J. R. Manga. (You can find all of our first impressions posts here.)

The cover of Magenta SkiesBook blurb

Our salvation may lie with the unexpected

Society is on the brink of chaos , a new threat is leaving its malicious mark on the city, and because of historic events, a great and malevolent force has set its gaze upon humanity. All that stands between such perilous evil and our surviving fate is a blind young man who only lives for vengeance, and a group of mentally unstable criminals that have no reason to help us. We must entrust them with a divine power no mortal should ever possess, and we must hope they use it to safeguard us from oblivion. For we have created beings of equal dread, and such abominations should never have been made.

Goodreads / Amazon

Our first impressions

Nancy: Reading this book felt like watching several episodes of an obscure 1990s anime known as Eat-man where characters are in variable bad situations. Some are embroiled in social uprisings, others genetic experiments. Every episode is a standalone story. What keeps Eat-Man interesting is that its protagonist named Bolt Crank appears in every episode and uses his nifty ability to eat weapons and make them reappear in his hand whenever he wants.

Without some glue, the individual stories in Magenta Skies feel confusing, flat and don’t entice the reader to continue reading further. This is worsened by the fact at the 30% point of the story, it hasn’t really advanced at all. We still don’t have a protagonist or know what is supposed to happen. Will the monster aliens attack everyone? Or is this a revenge story where our blind semi protagonist Reo uses his psychic powers to… uh… do something?

The one and only character I became fully immersed with was a psychotic assassin named Sin who discovers an underground mafioso mercenary faction called the Shikaris want to protect him. If the story had focused solely on him and Reo while removing the meandering subplot of the monster infected space station, I would have wanted to continue reading. For people who loved the movie Akira, they might wish to give this book a chance. (N)

Katherine: Technically: Writing style quite distant from the characters and I would say it’s overwritten. Passive in places. It made it hard to keep track of what was going on. Characters did things before they were introduced or had a body attached to their name. Also no indents in the ebook. Characters sometimes spoke in the same paragraph and I couldn’t keep track of all the marines because they were introduced so suddenly with no actual description. Many adverbs attached to saidisms distracted from the dialogue. Some of the descriptions were a bit awkward or made no sense, e.g.  ‘edge-framed blimp of futuristic design’, ‘her account harbouring between apprehension and confusion’, ‘a wail of slates’. In ‘Stone’s hidden smile was wide and agreeing’, if it’s hidden, how can it be described? There were other typos/errors as well, and it’s yet another book that seems allergic to using the pluperfect.

The plot itself seemed relatively interesting, with a rescue mission that gets a little spooky with potentially some enemies they’ve encountered before. But the author spent too much time describing actions, weapons and how people speak. We didn’t get a good description of the location. We didn’t get the scene set to feel spooky. There were some good descriptions here and there (excepting style), but it could still be confusing. Before that scene they saw some kind of shape like a monster, I guess, but then it just… wasn’t there? A lot of the problem is that things tended to be described way after we first saw them.

Dropped at 6% during a massive block of text that might have been helped by indents, but I couldn’t stomach continuing with the poor editing. (N)

Claire: I wasn’t a fan of the writing style – it felt odd and unnatural. The dialogue felt very stilted and ‘off’, and characters had similar tones of voice.

I found the story quite confusing. The story jumped around with different points of view and different characters. I didn’t feel very invested or interested in any of the characters stories.

It just couldn’t hold my attention. (N)

Our verdict: Cut

Please note that these opinions are the judges’ initial impressions of only a part of each book. A book being cut doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad or not worth reading.