A Banned Sorcery Review: Nameless, by Dawn Napier

Bryce Anderson likes to swim the vast and deep seas of Amazon’s self-published sci-fi and fantasy, occasionally bringing back sunken treasure. Find his reviews and fiction at Banned Sorcery.

By Dawn Napier
Genre: modern-day dark fantasy
Length: 67,000 words
Words per penny: 336
Available on Amazon.

Rating: +5 Awesome

Plot summary (spoiler-free):

A young woman named Sharon finds a strange little girl on her doorstep, and takes her in. The stubbornly nameless child is one of the fairyfolk, and is being hunted by dark powers, both fairy and mortal. When the child is kidnapped, she must go to the fairy world and rescue her with the help of her slacker brother, a sexy Catholic priest, and a magical granny with mad embroidering skillz.


It would be difficult to recommend this book highly enough. Writing, characters, plot, and dialogue are all top-notch, better than most traditionally published fiction. The story kept me hooked from beginning to end.

The book is full of adventure, with a good love story, and enough theological musings to keep your brain occupied, without ever slowing down the main story. Napier’s Underhill (the fairy world) is a strange place with a logic of its own, a place where everything is beautiful and anything can be deadly. The fairy kingdom is populated with beautiful, dangerous spirits who use magic and wiles to lure unsuspecting mortals to … well, everyone has their own deadly and/or sexy agendas.

It was with a heavy heart that I discovered that this is Dawn Napier’s only published work. Fear not, though. She’s working on another.

Write faster, you! Also, use more bigger words. Be obfuscatory, dammit! (Sorry. Inside joke. My first contact with her was during a brief online argument over whether Fifty Shades used inappropriately large vocabulary.)


The book deserves better cover art. A few stick-in-the-muds … er, I mean gentle souls … might find some parts blasphemous or disrespectful towards Catholicism. Jesus is pro-gay marriage, and he swears.

12 thoughts on “A Banned Sorcery Review: Nameless, by Dawn Napier

  1. Agree with you on the cover art. Sounds like my kind of writer, a lot like me, though, I’m not disrespectful towards Catholicism. I’m agnostic, and I giggle at men in funny hats, but I respect them, even if I don’t see it their way. Well, other than the pedophiles, I don’t respect those.

    • Hey, Fred. I have to say, I sort of like the art itself — the two worlds as mirror images … that’s cool and seems to fit Bryce’s description of the plot. But the title and author name are almost unreadable. I think I’d drop the bottom iteration of the author/title and use a much more substantial font for the top one.

  2. You like that cover for a dark fantasy? I dunno, I can kinda get the skeletal reflection of the city making it look like the seedy underbelly or something, but the overall color scheme and feel make it seem like a happy go lucky kid’s book. Or a book like this.

    I’d darken it up. Shadows, rain, fog, night, something like that.

    • Sigh. Yeah, you’re right, Fred. DARK fantasy. Right.

      Still like the art a lot, though.

      (See, this is how I ended up with a genreless cover for my own book!)

      • Your cover is awsome. There’s something very eerie about it. I think it’s the coloring. Makes me thing of The Ring.

        • Thanks so much, Fred! High praise! (The Ring is one of those movies I think of pretty regularly, even though I only saw it once years ago.)

  3. I love the look of the cover! The cover is what caught my attention as I was scrolling down through your reviews so I was surprised that you weren’t that keen on it. Don’t ask me why that surprised me, obviously people are ‘allowed’ to have different opinions than me…*slinks away to buy copy of book*

    • Hi, D.J. Thanks for commenting! I really like the cover art, too. In fact, I’d like to be able to ogle a poster-sized version of it. But I do think Bryce (and Fred, who commented earlier) are right about it because of the genre-fit issue. Dark fantasy doesn’t usually have this kind of cover, and a “genre-correct” cover is one quick and easy way to let readers know, “Hey, this is your kinda book!” So, if you want to squeeze all the bang out of your marketing buck …

    • I’m really surprised at how much blowback I got for mentioning that I didn’t like the cover. I somehow assumed everyone would see more or less the same thing. I’ll admit it has a certain charm, and I’ll admit that I pretend to know more about cover design than I actually do.

      • Well, Fred was definitely seeing what you saw, Bryce! Personally, I feel quite insecure about the cover issue. Some things are pretty obviously problematic, like the very-hard-to-read title on this book. Other things may be nice in an objective sense but inappropriate for the genre. Still other things might just be a matter of personal taste. As an indie author, it’s pretty hard to feel confident about one’s decisions.

        Ah well. Unlike with traditionally published authors, we can change our covers if they’re not working! :)

  4. Hello Everyone, I’m the guy who did the cover art for Dawn. First, let me thank you for the review. She really appreciates that. Clicking ‘like’ or ‘thumbs up’ or whatever each listed site contains is a great way to support indie authors. The review is a sweet sweet cherry to clicking like.

    I know I couldn’t please everyone on the cover art. I also know that it is a very important component to selling a book. Rest assured, I had Dawn’s best interest in mind when I attempted this. She’s agreed (so far anyway) to let me do her next cover. I fully intend to go a different route for this next one. I’m going to switch to a simplistic format using photography.

    [@Becca Thanks for the feedback on the font. I am always conscious of keeping it readable. I thought I had achieved that. This particular font almost looks like a bar code so I can see how it is tough to read. I’ll keep that in mind on the next one. I do pay attention to contrasting colors. That helps with good readability.]

    I’m glad you mentioned it looked like a kids book. That is exactly what I set out to do. I was unaware, that I should’ve made it darker for a dark fantasy. My thoughts going into this cover:

    – sketch this in pencil and use a watercolor style overlay to give it a childish look. I was thinking about the cute little child in the story I guess.

    – mirror imaging of the city and underhill (mirrored as much as possible anyway. You’ll see that they are not true mirror images)

    – keep the city side color-drab and lifeless as possible. I felt the city should be boring and the underhill vibrant. People should want to be in the underhill; attracted to it. Even though it is full of danger you can’t help but feel drawn to it.

    It’s possible I over thought it. Honestly, I’ve seen a healthy mix of ‘love it’ / ‘hate it’.

    Moving to photography on the next is something I’d like to explore. Of course I’ll have to help test read her next one to get a good feel on the photo’s subject.

    Thanks again for taking the time to discuss this book. I know she greatly appreciates it.

    —Bill Napier

    • Thanks for your comment, Bill! It’s really interesting to hear what goes into the creative process of cover invention and design. Clearly, there are about a million things to consider.

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