Author Requested Review: ‘I Was Here – Before You Came’ by Camelia Miron Skiba

Book Cover: I Was Here - Before You Came (Born in Vengeance) by Camelia Miron SkibaA story set in the days of the Romans, this the story of the Dacian people and their thirst for revenge.

The Romans were the only group who ever bested the Dacians; as is the custom, they killed the king and took over their lands. The son of the late king, Ilius, has been waiting for the right time to exact his revenge on the emperor who now lives where his father’s castle once stood. Ten years after his father’s death, Ilius is ready to kidnap the daughter of the emperor, defeat his army and then return the land to the Dacian people.

What he didn’t plan on was falling in love with Nerva. Can he retain the respect of his friends, help his people or will he have to be a traitor to his own feelings?

This is a short story that was later turned into a novel called Born in Vengeance. While the sparse, spare style of writing was perfectly suited to a warrior, a man who expresses himself better on the battlefield than with words, the misspellings and misuse of words caused me to want to fall on my sword. First, though, let’s talk about the story.

The history of Ilius’ father’s death and the loss of the Dacian lands is told at the beginning. OK, that’s pretty exciting and a great setup for revenge, return of power, and some kick-ass fighting. Then the daughter of the emperor is kidnapped by Ilius, and she is not happy too about it. Great! Now the foundation is laid for a love/hate relationship as well as conflict between Ilius and his men/people. However, after that, it just sort of fizzles out. Nerva is in love, forgetting anything about her anger with the Dacians; the emperor wants to team up with the Dacians to fight someone else; and then they all hold hands and sing (say it with me) Kumbaya.

What? There sure was a lot of prep – for what? So I had to plod through all of those names for nothing?

I am going to admit something. A story can really put me off if it has a lot of weird names in it. I tend to skim over them and don’t read them correctly, so I don’t really know what the character’s name is. Unless it is a really good book, I get annoyed. Sorry. So, here we are. The author has to use certain kinds of names, of course – it’s a historical book, so to be real, that’s what needs to be done. I still don’t know any of their names other than Ilius (which you don’t even know until page four) and Nerva. The rest will henceforth be remembered as Tyrannosaurus, Baptist, Viper and Bear. Obviously this is my problem, not the author’s, but I did wonder if anyone else has this affliction.

As for my issue with grammar, I am not one of those people who can look past it. I’m sorry, but there it is. “Wolfs” instead of “wolves;” “laying” instead of “lying;” “winching” instead of “wincing.” Then there were some odd usages: “a sprint in his step;” “my temper roofing up there with the blazes of the burning fortress;” “My arm irons around her small middle too hard.”

Now, while I did think the style of writing was well-suited to the narrator, it was definitely at odds with all of the contractions present. So the “mayhaps”-es, calling someone a brute, and the references to gods looked strange next to the more modern-day language of “they’re,” “can’t” and “ain’t.” Maybe it is just me, but “they are,” “cannot” (and never “ain’t”) seem to be more befitting to the time, especially since such an obvious effort was made to sound “old-fashioned.”

Bottom Line: This book has the bones for a good story, but it needed more. Maybe that’s why it was fleshed out into a full novel. As it is, there’s not enough here to satisfy.

I Was There – Before You Came by Camelia Miron Skiba was published August 24, 2012. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Author.

Rating: 2.5

Genre: Adult Fiction Historical Romance Series

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