On Mondays, I’ll be posting a book review for different Indie Fantasy books. Today it’s for The Forbidden Bean by A.J. Tillock.
About five years ago I read a LOT of Indie self-published books. It actually burned me out of my desire to read for some time as so many of them were poorly written, without an original thought, lacked plot, with plastic characters.
I write this so you know that I’m a little skeptical of self-published writers – too many times it’s simply a vanity press used by authors who still need to learn a lot about their craft. However, I’m happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised with The Forbidden Bean.
First, it’s professionally written. You can tell from the very first chapter you are in safe hands when it comes to the characters, the plotting, and the overall story. The only thing I saw was some spacing errors on the “typeset” about 70% through the story. This was minor though and didn’t impact the enjoyment of reading it.
Now, what I really liked is this story has what a lot of contemporary fantasy lacks – a realism about the heroine herself. You feel she is a REAL person, holding down a job as a barista. This author knows her stuff about being a worker bee at a coffee shop and you are right beside Tee as she’s doing her job, frustrated by management, and dealing with lackluster co-workers.
The other thing I really enjoyed about this story is how the author puts our heroine into one of the most helpless beings she could be – lowly insects (some of them rather not what you think a hero should be). Yet, STILL Tee manages to save the day. This is where the book really shows how exceptional it is – you actually want to read about Tee being a cockroach, a wasp, and a butterfly.
I also like that her friends seem to be real people.
For example, the reveal of Lenny’s art really makes him a person I want to learn more about – I would like this character to grow more from being a one-way romance. He has the potential for real depth. I hope we see more of this in book 2.
I’d like to know more about Joe and who he is, what makes him tick, and why he would be interested in Tee. At first he comes across just as a preppy frat guy but any guy who takes in an orphaned kitty is an A+ in my book. So tell me more.
SPOILERS (minor) ahead…
My only caveats about this story – I think the ending was rather abrupt. I wasn’t expecting quite such a quick cut off there. I can see why Tee did what she did but I’m not sure I felt the emotional pay off there. Would Tee take the step she did without any inner conflict?
For me, the religious posts at the top of each chapter (especially as I’m not a Christian) didn’t fit with the story since it was never mentioned Tee was a church-goer and her personality didn’t strike me as one being religious. I found this distracting and I think it would also limit the appeal of the book to those fantasy readers who aren’t Christian.
A book two is already out for those with a Bean addiction.