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Book Review: The Great Trespass: A World of Wolt Novel – Steve Teets

An intriguing mystery/action debut novel along the lines of a Stephen King horror story that shows a lot of promise.

NOTE: I have upped my stars from the 3 originally on Reedsy Discovery to 4 here on my personal blog. The World of Wolt is so creative I realized that I’ll be picking up any sequels on my own dime if they come out, which makes this worthy of more than 3 stars, but the issues mentioned in the review pushed me to initially rate it a 3 to conform to Reedsy’s review guidelines.

The Great Trespass has all the right ingredients for a spectacular debut novel: an unknowing “prophesied one” hero, grotesque, horrific monsters, thrilling battles, intriguing mystery, and inconvenient (to the hero) time travel. Unfortunately, it falls just shy of being an absolutely spectacular debut novel for me–an issue that could be easily fixed by one thorough pass-through by a professional editor.

The plot begins grimly: horrific monsters have invaded the Pacific Northwest region of Canada and the United States, slaughtering all in their way and swiftly moving south and east. The United States military is scrambling to respond, and media reports of the carnage have the whole world watching in horror. Meanwhile, protagonist Rob Gryffon, a Discovery Channel-like TV star, steps off the plane from his relaxing vacation in the year 2025 only to discover his luggage is missing and there’s no record of him being on the flight. Puzzled, he drops by a friend’s home, where his shocked friend informs him that it is now the year 2027 and Rob has been missing for two years, during which the continent of North America has been invaded by otherworldly creatures called Wolts. Our protagonist is an unwilling time traveler, and he has no idea why.

Author Steve Teets does a fantastic job juggling the multiple timelines, a true feat as bouncing back and forth through time can quite easily confuse or lose readers. The origin of the Wolts and the circumstances surrounding their arrival on Earth is touched upon just enough to leave the reader wanting to know more about them–a great hook for a sequel, which Teets is clearly aiming for. The plot concludes in a fairly satisfactory manner, wrapping up the main issues while leaving a few questions unanswered, but not in a seat-gripping cliffhanger kind of way–I really dislike massive cliffhangers when there’s no guarantee of a sequel, and thankfully Teets has avoided this.

Unfortunately, some plot and grammatical errors have me mourning the fact that this story could be so much more wonderful with a good, tight edit. One chapter has characters talking repeatedly about cuneiform before abruptly calling them hieroglyphics. Those two forms of writing are very different, and should not be used interchangeably. Other sections have narrating characters suddenly switch from past tense to present tense, oftentimes mid-paragraph with no indication that this was an intentional choice on the author’s part. If this was intentional, formatting the character’s inner thoughts differently, in italics, for example, would make the switch less jarring. There are also a few missing punctuation marks and misplaced lowercase/uppercase letters at the beginnings and ends of sentences–all normal overlooked mistakes in a story draft, but they should have been caught before going to publication. All these minor things happened just enough as I was reading the story that every time I came across them I was jarred out of the narration.

Teets clearly has fleshed out his fantasy world in his mind and is hoping to continue it in further stories and direct sequels. I hope he continues to improve as he writes, because I would love to read more of the world he has created with all of the above issues fixed.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery for free and read it on my 10th generation Kindle Oasis. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. This review was originally written for Reedsy Discovery. The original review is here.

Title: The Great Trespass
Author: Steve Teets
Publication Date: 17 January 2022
Print Length: 490 pages
Marie’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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