Imperium Omni Captain's Edition

Book cover
Imperium Omni Captain's Edition, by Matthew S, Thomas
Review by Mario J. Otero

Edition read
Book title:
Matthew S. Thomas
Ebook (.MOBI for Kindle)
N/A (1)
Story Tellers Entertainment
Date published:
?, 2016 (1)
N° of pages:
563 (1)

This is what I wrote in my Goodreads update at about half the book: "It has been strange (not to say difficult) to keep reading this book. I can't say if it's adventure, sci-fi, fantastic literature or a mix. Will keep to the end, but I am not precisely excited or eager to read every time I sit to tackle the task. But I'll leave to the end to give a final opinion in my review."

Having read it, what I think now is that I was not the right reader for this book.

I am not in role playing games or in video games, and I discovered that it is the novelization of a game. It is a valid strategy that around a successful book there appears a plethora of other products like merchandising, films, TV series, video/computer games, etc. But since the book is not bundled with the game, the literary product would exploit what a novel can do best, rather than following the game and putting the reader to earn credits or collect coins or gold pieces.

The West map
When you realize it's the first out of several books you are already into it and when the book finishes, there are many loose ends, few situations close. Even if it is clear that there should be "long-term" situations or objectives to give cohesion to the whole series, each individual volume should close at least all issues related to its particular objective, even if the series objective should, of course, stay open, even with increased suspense. Some missions that the characters perform are described in detail for several pages and it doesn't take you anywhere, the mission doesn't have any further mention or any importance, other than to collect coins (to cover "expedition costs") as in arcade or video games or eventually to show you additional traits from the characters. On the other hand, one single paragraph can tell you that for months they conducted similar missions without detailing them. Likewise, there appear too many characters. Some of them carry implicit importance or interest when introduced but they never reappear.

The book builds on concepts that I like in sci-fi: multiple races, friendly and aggressive ones, a mean villain. There are races drawn from mythical creatures known in some cultures and already taken by nothing less than Tolkien (dwarfs, orcs, elves, ...), with all the social and ethnical background to leave the message of living building upon (and not fighting because of) our differences. We found this resource in Star Trek. By the way, talking about Tolkien and the mean villain character, its name is Raunos, an anagram of Sauron, the main antagonist in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

The East map
In the book's universe magic plays an important role. Characters grow in their development not only by improving knowledge and skills but magic too. To my taste, the book exaggerates a little with the use of magic in the sense that even if the reader knows the heroes have some magic skills, in very critical situations, when all techniques and skills have been used and the danger or threat persists, "magically" one of them says kind of oh, by the way, I have some magic trick that you didn't know of, that can easily take us from here. Also to my taste, some powers attributed to magic could have been replaced by science or technology: to name just one, teleportation.

Some other details could be checked, like balancing the distances in terms of the big effort and time that takes them to move from one place to another, compared to how short they appear to be on the maps provided. In other words, review the scale of the maps. Talking about maps, since they're there, it would be nice that the reader could find on them most of the places that the text talks about. This is just a wish, note that not even TLOTR maps are so detailed.

In summary, the book, and to no doubt the series, has ingredients for success, but unfortunately, it didn't catch me, as I said, because I was probably not the right reader for this book. I give it an "it was ok" rate: 2 Goodreads or 3 Amazon stars.


My copy of the book was provided free of charge by the author, via @booktasters, in exchange for an honest review.

(1): The .MOBI for Kindle copy that I received didn't have ISBN / ASIN number or a precise publication date. The Kindle showed page # 563 at about 83% of the book and from there on all remaining pages are numbered 563.

An excerpt of this review is published on my Goodreads page.

MJOD, Bogotá, September 2016


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