Journeyed there and back again
But that doesn't mean that Renshaw's over 700 reviews are faked and, in fact, his sales would tend to argue for his reviews being real. Renshaw was #1 in Audiobook sales for epic fantasy over the weekend and has been top five for several weeks. That's an average of over 500 copies sold a day. For Kindle sales, he's been in the top 500 for sales/downloads for months. That's about 500-700 copies sold/downloaded per day, but he wasn't doing that well until probably late summer. Prior to that, his Amazon Kindle ranking was in the 1000-2000 range, which is more like 75-100 copies sold per day. BTW this is almost exactly how Shadow of What Was Lost did in terms of sales for the first 6-8 months after it was released: strong initial sales and then an explosion. Regardless, some indie authors who are much more knowledegable than me about sales and reviews argue that for every 1 review, there is generally 100 books sold. That's close based on my sales (mine is more like 1:150) and some other author friends of mine. In Renshaw's case, though, doing a rough estimate of his sales based on his historical sales ranking, he's probably sold or had downloaded somewhere in the 70,000-80,000 copies, which should give him about 800 reviews. Which is where he is.
I will say, the writing itself was good -- no typos, grammar, and little in the way of clunky phrases. My complaints are wholly with the narrative structure and the characterization.
I honestly hope he does well and his book seems to be popular. It wasn't my cup of tea, as I broke down in my review, but I'd be interested to hear what others on the forum, who want to read it, think of it.
The other interpretation, as you state, of a broken boy (yes, he's abused by his dad and this is a major force in the book for his emotional trauma) who's trying to overcome this abuse is accurate, and I can see why some readers would like the subversive idea of that (you don't get a real 'hero, hero' as expected).
I'm all for breaking the mold in the genre. And Renshaw did do this, and credit to him for making a hero like this.
I could overlook the shaky plot where favorable situations are lined up one after the other (without a reasonable explanation or plot thread that leads to a logical connection). Let's be honest, it is a fantasy book after all and to expect a Hard Science Fiction level of accuracy to events and happenstance is a bit ridiculous. But at least I wanted the pretense of it.
I didn't like the character because it was hard to back a protagonist who keeps on running away when it counts the most, regardless of the reasons for that behavior. I could overlook this character fault if the character solved the issue on his own by the end, as I fully expected was going to be the case, but when
an out of the blue divine strike of lighting cured him of his issue without any sort of lead up, logical connection, or explanation as to how that resolution came about, five hundred pages into the book, well, that was too much for me to buy.
Anyways, I'm just one dissenting voice in what appears to be a symphony of positive praise.
At the end of the day, if you or anyone else loves it, that's all that matters.
I definitely want people here to check out the book, see what they think, then come back and tell me how crazy I am for not liking it. Then I'll need to figure out why I don't see the brilliance of it when everyone else does. If it turns out that way, I give the book another go and listen to the new audiobook. If things seem different the second time around, I'll even rewrite the review.