The Engineer: Darran M. Handshaw

The Engineer: Darran M. Handshaw

I hope that you are all having a wonderful new year. Mine is going pretty well. I have been spending some great quality time with my kids, those are the best moments. Last night we made slime together and they had a blast. A little mess is nothing compared to the memories we made. I know that as a child, those little moments are the ones I always remembered, not the expensive gifts.


Good news…I am on track for hitting my 100 books during 2019 goal! I guess we will see how long that lasts though. This last year I ended up getting too busy with beta reading and proofreading jobs, all while healing from hip surgery and being a mom, that in and of itself is a crazy amount of work. In April I will be getting all of my screws taken out of my hips, so that will be fun. I am excited to begin running though. I was cleared to but slowly, I just need to find the time to do it.


Before I get carried away with tangents, let’s move on to today’s review. I read this book a while back and was lucky enough to interview Darran for Saturday Spotlight.

The Engineer

The Engineer: A Chronicles of Actaeon Story

The Engineer

Author: Darran M. Handshaw

Published: December 15th, 2017

Publisher: The Engineer’s Press

Book Length: 600 Pages

Genre: Fantasy

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Buy the book: Amazon

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel for free, from the author, in exchange for my honest review.**

“We are born in the shadow of fading memories and fallen dreams, living our days within the decaying bones of an age long gone.”

When the Engineer, Actaeon, arrives at Pyramid in the heart of Redemption, nothing goes according to plan. Mysterious raiders pursue him relentlessly across the shattered remains of the ancient metropolis, and the leaders of his homeland pay no heed to his ambitious ideas. Meanwhile, deep beneath Pyramid, a deadly creature stirs. And, when Actaeon meets a skilled young Knight Arbiter with brilliant blue eyes, he starts down a path he could never have imagined.

The vast, fallen city of the Ancients is home to a new people who face the constant struggle to find resources needed to survive in the dangerous ruins. For the Engineer, however, Redemption is a treasure trove of technology, opportunity, and answers. But his unique skills make him a target for those who would use his talents to achieve their own dreams of power and control.

In his endless quest for the truth, will Actaeon discover the fallen city’s greatest secrets? Or will he share the same fate as the Ancients of whom nothing remains but a whisper?

One thing is certain: in Redemption, everything comes with a cost.


First, the cover reminds me of something I would see from Lord of The Rings or another great classic fantasy novel. You can see the various levels of residence here, beginning with tents. In the lower right corner is a shadowy figure that I assume is Actaeon. The cover is intriguing and I find it complex but not overbearing.


Things I didn’t like:

  • Too many names for the main character
    • This confused me initially. The main character is named Actaeon but we also see him called the Engineer. Within one paragraph, both names were used and it became just unbearably frustrating at times.
  • Pacing
    • Overall, the story moved well but there were a few times I felt it slowed and was drug along, just to make a longer story. There were a few times that I felt things could have been cut without impacting the storyline. It felt like many small adventures that had no real purpose or end goal. I think this would be great if broken into a few smaller books, making a series.

Things I liked:

  • Worldbuilding
    • Yes, this is based on the author’s character in an early online multiplayer role-playing game. This means that the world was set out before him and all he had to do was describe it. It was the detail with which he described the world that caught my attention. It was as immersive as if I were playing the game as well, living the events through the eyes of another character.
  • Romance
    • Darran is very clear from the beginning that this story is a true one, one of how his wife and he fell in love. How sweet is that? I am a sucker for a good romance and what better way to tell it than through the eyes of your fantasy character? This is such a wonderful way to tell that love. Both characters are a little socially awkward and I enjoy the slow-burn romance that was written here. It is a nice change of pace from the instant-love seen often in most novels lately.
  • Characters
    • This is for sure, a character-driven story. I love those! I really get to know the characters and there are many great ones here. Their backgrounds and in-depth and each one brings something unique to the story. The relationships between then grow and develop as we follow them, killing creatures and saving one another, along with their perilous journey.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I did enjoy this book. It was a bit long and the few parts that slowed me down at one point made me want to put it down. But, I am glad I didn’t. I will say that if this were a collection of short stories, I would more than gladly read them accordingly, taking a break in between. The imagery and characters are the two biggest strengths here, along with the fact that this was his way of telling the tale of falling in love with his wife. I do look forward to hearing more about this world. Darran has created such a wonderful fantasy that everyone should give a fair chance, especially if you are a gamer and enjoy a good fantasy tale.

Would you read this novel? Buy it or borrow it? If you have read it, what did you think?

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