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Robert Stanek’s Keeper Martin’s Tale Book Review (The Worst Book in the World)

By / May 5, 2009 / no comments

Keeper Martin’s Tale — Officially the Worst Book I’ve Ever Read.

A few posts ago, I talked about the Amazon Fake Reviews issue. One of the posterboy’s of this new author-writing-fake-review phenomenon is Robert Stanek. A while ago I wrote an actual review of his terrible book, Keeper Martin’s Tale. Stanek got Amazon to take my review down — probably the only legit review out of his 300+ fake reviews. Oh the irony. Here is the review:

I had the dubious pleasure of reading Keeper Martin’s Tale a few months ago. My mouth still hurts where it hung constantly open for the entire duration of the book. A few choice words come to mind when ruminating on the experience. Appalling. Disgusting. Terrible. Ghastly. Horrific. Repulsive. Sordid. Vile. I could go on an on enumerating the list of synonyms for bad.

I’ll end it with this phrase: It was a pile of sh*t!

I’m not in the habit of attacking authors, but in this case, I feel the effort warranted. After all, Rob uses smarmy tactics to promote his books (fake Amazon reviews, fake Amazon lists, trashing other authors while recommending his own, etc).

Unquestionably, Stanek wins the worst-fantasy-writer-ever award. I never thought anyone would top Robert Newcomb in this category, but Stanek succeeds and succeeds with ease. This guy’s writing is a textbook example of what not to do when you write. How is it possibly that people actually buy this pile?

The prose in Keeper Martin’s Tale is abysmal, the plot boring, awkward, and the characters dull as a spoon. “Keeper Martin’s Tale” reads more like tenth grader’s first creative writing project than the expected professional type prose exhibited by publishable authors.

Simply put, the man cannot write, not a bit, not a ounce, not a scintilla, not a single atom. All those Amazon “reviews” equating “Keeper Martin’s Tale” (indeed all of the Ruin Mist series) as the Second Coming are complete fabrications.

After reading the book, I went back and read some of the “reviews” laughing so hard I almost broke a few ribs. Reviews like the following abound on Amazon:

“I’ll just add to the glowing reviews of this book. I have some (limited) negative feelings about this book like others do, but overall I think that it’s a unique book that’s well worth having. Does Robert Stanek know how to write??? Oh yeah!!! He’s very good at getting inside characters heads without being obvious about it. He’s very good at describing a fantasy world. He’s very good with dialog. The plot and pace is excellent. Okay, so I too am VERY jealous of anybody who can write such a great story. BUT HE’S EARNED HIS PLACE WITH THE GREATS OF FANTASY!!! He’s worked very hard for his success and he has the courage to pursue his dreams unlike 95% of the population (including myself). And NO I don’t belong to his Official Fan Club, but I’d probably join it, if he had one”

What a load of crap! Anyone who has actually read the book knows these are fake reviews! Lets deconstruct the “review”.

“Does Stanek know how to write??? Oh yeah???”

Ah, are we on the same planet? From what I’ve seen, Stanek couldn’t write a publishable paragraph to save his life.

“He’s very good at describing a fantasy world”

No. NO. AND NO! Stanek’s “descriptions” are appallingly bad. Geez, even dragonlance authors do a better job!

“The plot and pace is excellent”

Try Slow and plodding. After reading the book, I’m still asking myself, what was the plot?

“He’s very good with dialog”

Uh…not true. IN fact, the dialogue is stilted. No personality whatsoever. Want good, witty dialogue? Read Greg Keyes’s The Briar King. Now THAT man can write.

“BUT HE’S EARNED HIS PLACE WITH THE GREATS OF FANTASY!!! He’s worked very hard for his success and he has the courage to pursue his dreams unlike 95% of the population (including myself). And NO I don’t belong to his Official Fan Club, but I’d probably join it, if he had one[/I]”

SO much for objectivity in a review. Can we say FAKE REVIEW?

NO ONE with an once of sense would ever waste a breath of praise on Stanek’s drivel, much less post effusive reviews in the vein of “STENEK IS BETTER THAN JORDAN AND MARTIN” or “STANEK IS THE NEXT JORDAN.”

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it by posting a few sample paragraphs from the book:

“Always more reminders of the things she should or should not do—her proper place, always her proper place. She knew all about the proper things, the proper mannerisms, the proper greetings, her proper duties, her proper place. She had even been taught, though only recently, the proper things to do to invite a man’s attention. She was to begin courting. But why? “

Blah, horrific. I wrote better than this in grade five. And one more painful passage to convince the skeptics:

“Seth returned to the room they shared then and did a thing he claimed not to understand. Galan was sitting on the edge of her bed, running a comb through her long hair. He sat beside her and the next thing he knew his lips were pressed against hers.
Immediately afterward, Seth fled the room and in his confused state of mind, said he knew of only one person he could turn to. Brother Liyan had been meditating in his private chambers and, without announcement, Seth burst into the room and in one great rush of thoughts explained all that had happened since he left the hall.”

Does this prose seem childish to you? It’s definitely not up to publishable standards. Or at least the ones I’m familiar with! The entire book is like this. Even worse, the book is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

STAY AWAY from this author! Though if you are in the mood for a good laugh, read it. The book’s so bad it’s almost funny. Robert Stanek’s Keeper Martin’s Tale is the WORST book I’ve ever read. I officially award it the BestFantasyBooks “Worst Book” award. Go post that on your reviews, Mr. Stanek.

About the author


Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!


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