Spoiler-Free Review of Breach of Peace
My Rating: 3.5/5
In this review of Breach of Peace by Daniel Greene I will keep things spoiler-free!
In general, this is a great debut novella by Daniel Greene. The characters are distinctive and we feel an emotional attachment to them. The setting is as clear as it needs to be for such a short story. When it comes to the plot, this was the best part of the novella!
It is no secret that I have enjoyed Daniel Greene’s videos on his YouTube channel for several years. I love his reviews and ridiculous sketches, but I was a little apprehensive about reading his book as I worried I might think it was terrible.
That’s not a selfish thought – I hoped that this would be a great book because for the amount of work he puts into his channel, he deserves all the success in the world. Luckily, I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the later entries.
Alright, less butt-licking and more reviewing!
Having great characters is essential for any good fantasy book, and Daniel obviously knows this. So much work has gone into crafting the main characters so when we follow them into danger or watch them considering a mystery, we are on the edge of our seats.
We care, and that’s what’s so important. I have read books where I don’t care about the main characters and they can be good – the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov is a fantastic example of this – but I always miss the emotional attachment.
Khlid is the perfect protagonist. She is driven and motivated which moves the story along the beats of the mystery plot. Her relationship with Sam is strong, although in a novella there wasn’t a huge amount of time to spend on this. Obviously, I prefer it this way rather than having several paragraphs of exposition about their relationship! – Instead, we watch them interact naturally and their love for one another is clear.
Chapman was one of my favourites! He had an attitude which would make you hate working with him, but as a character in a story you love him! If this had been a novel, I would have loved a multiple POV with all three of these individuals.
The World & Plot
I have already mentioned the limitations of a novella. In a fantasy book, the limitations on worldbuilding are pretty clear. Despite this, Daniel brings the local setting into clear focus and we see the surroundings clearly through the eyes of the characters and vivid, concise descriptions.
I am a reader of the big, 1000+ page fantasy books, but Breach of Peace isn’t that kind of book and it didn’t need to be. We saw just enough of the world to enjoy the story. The ministries were very 1984 and I loved that! Such a fantastic addition to the world – a lot could be done with such an element and I am sure we will see more of it in the later novellas.
Even if you didn’t already know from spending too much time watching his YouTube videos, it is clear that Daniel is a fan of detective novels. Many aspects of the novella remind me of the classic noir mysteries, and because of this is also feels similar to The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
The plot was enjoyable and the mystery was riveting to read – it pulled you through the short book and didn’t let go until you’d found out the answers! A good mystery ends in enough answered questions to satisfy the reader, but also more questions – I will be thinking about the ending of this book for a long time to come, wondering what is going to come next.
This review of Breach of Peace by Daniel Greene is generally positive – as it should be! – but there were of course a few issues with the novella readers should be aware of. The writing isn’t perfect, and we wouldn’t expect it to be, but this can lead to being pulled out of the story a little.
For example, at the end of a few chapters we are pulled out of the story a little by the odd sentence that reveals what is going to happen next. To make this clearer, I would say that most of the story is in 3rd person limited (written in 3rd person but the writer can only see what is going on through the point of view of one character), but these one-off sentences are more like 3rd person omnipresent narration (where the writer knows all – points of view and what will happen in the future).
That was my only predominant negative aspect of reading Breach of Peace and it is easy to skip over when the rest of the story is told so well.
I am really looking forward to what Daniel will publish in the future. I strongly believe he will develop into a very strong writer and maybe one day I could have a chat with him about the writing process, fantasy books in general, and other nerdy stuff!