DNF Review of Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

DNF Review of Defenders of the Scroll by ShirazDefenders Of The Scroll by Shiraz
Published by iUniverse Star on 2009-06
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 264
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Far away in the realm of Mythos, an evil entity has broken free of its prison to darken the land. However, entrusted with her father's magic scroll the only hope for the realm young princess Dara summons six heroes from different times and places to defend her: a hardened Roman legionnaire, a swift Japanese samurai, a mighty African warrior, a fiery Amazon archer, a spirited Shaolin monk, and a guitar-playing high school student named Alex. Now, constantly on the run from an army of Shadow Warriors, the teens must endure perilous journeys and face frightening monsters while trying not to fight with each other as they struggle to find the mysterious Hall of Shadows. 2010 Mom's Choice Awards® Silver Recipient for Young Adult Fantasy, Myths & Legends Winner in the Fantasy category of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in the Action-Adventure and Young Adult Fiction categories of the 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist in the Multicultural Fiction and Best Overall Design Fiction categories of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the National Best Books 2009 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi category of the 2009 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention in the Sci-Fi and Teenage categories of the 2009 Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention in the Teenage category of the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention in the Wild Card category of the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival

Let me preface this by saying I was very hesitant to do a review, but after speaking with fellow bloggers and authors in a chatzy, I have decided to go forward with this review, since a part of blogging is honesty and straight-forwardness.

I really wanted to like and enjoy Defenders of the Scroll, honest-to-God, I did. I liked the premise, little girl gets magic scrolls, and calls on fabulous people and figures to help her in her quest. Quest books are among my favorites. However, I had to put the book aside.

The writing definitely needed a better editor, and an honest editor at that. I mean, what sort of editor lets repetition slip by? What sort of an editor lets an author get away with telling their readers what is occurring in the story instead of showing readers. For example, at one point the wizard king was walking through the ShadowLands, and had a glowing orb in his hands. Now, from the glowing orb I can pretty much deduce that the orb was lighting up the dark, right? Apparently not, as a sentence was included to tell the reader that the orb lit up the woods. Uh, thanks Captain Obvious. I’m sure if this book was better executed, I would have really enjoyed it, and actually finished it. It may have had much better execution if there was an editor honest enough to say, really Bro this is unnecessary, why don’t you go back and revise that?

Also, I really think the publisher should have stepped in and said something about the cover. I don’t like it, numerous others I have spoken with do not like it as well. It’s too busy, too cheesy, and the people don’t work well. Perhaps if it was a simple picture of a scroll with a sword or an axe in front of it, with maybe the title and author in calligraphy, the cover would have worked, but rather the cover just didn’t do it for me.

That being said, the pictures inside were really awesome! Maybe if this was done as a graphic novel instead of a regular novel, this would have worked. The things which I felt could have been eliminated, i.e. the unnecessary descriptors of people’s looks, objects, and functions could have been replaced with pictures and dialogue, much like what a graphic novel does.

This is not to say that Shiraz is a bad author or person, in fact, he is an incredibly nice and interesting guy. I just think he got screwed over by his publisher, as he fronted the money I think, for the book to be published, yet they did not do their jobs and be honest about what would have made the book work for the reader. I mean, really iUniverse, you ought to have used your editor and used your cover designer more accordingly. I mean, I just made a bunch of constructive critical comments which I feel would have improved the book and I wasn’t even paid to make those comments. Now, what are those people getting paid to do if they can’t do their jobs right? Do you honestly care about the book, or about the money the author is giving you to publish their book?

All this being said, I cannot, in good conscience recommend a drink to go with this book.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Thank you for your honest opinion. I think you did a wonderful job in explaining what you did and didn't enjoy.

  2. I definitely agree about the cover. I was offered this book for review and the cover was my final tipping point towards not taking it (which I'm glad of now, after reading this).

  3. Juju from Tales of Whimsy says

    Thank you for your review. I like a good honest review.

  4. ShirazTheAuthor says

    First of all, I’d like to thank April for the honest and insightful review. I know how hard it is to give a bad review if you like the person you’re reviewing. I will definitely keep your remarks in mind when working on my next book, and get rid of Captain Obvious. (He awed me with his really cool cape!) The graphic novel idea has been bouncing around here for the past few months as well.

    However, I just need to point out that iUniverse did not design the cover. One of the creators designed it about six years ago when DotS was being pitched as a cartoon series and everyone looked like anime characters. I got Steve (the artist I hired for the book) to redo it to match the art style we put inside, but keep the initial design. I just don’t want iUniverse getting blamed for something they weren’t responsible for. They do somethings great and suck at others, but the cover was not something I hired them for. Anyway, I know several people who love the cover and several who hate it. I liken it to British comedy, not for everyone.

    Thanks again, April. I really appreciate it.

  5. You did a great job with a difficult review. I also agree with you about the cover. It doesn't seem very relevant with the current style of book art.

    Keep up the great work.

    -amanda n.

  6. I think it's important to always review honestly. It makes you more trustworthy if you are willing to say when something is bad. I don't want hype, I want your thoughts. So, good for you.
    I have to say though, you're wrong on the drink. This is the type of book when you need one. And that one is vodka. It can be a drinking game: take a shot every time the book is bad…

  7. Also, I saw the cover and thought of Scooby Doo. Or some cheesy 80s superhero cartoon. It's a shame, because the author has no control over that. I've repeatedly wondered what is going on in the editing world lately, because more and more, they don't seem to be on their game. That's not fair to the author who wants and needs help for something they've put their heart into, and it's not fair to the reader who spends their money.

  8. violetcrush says

    Awww…I really liked this book 🙁 Sorry you didn't like it though.