Of Bone And Thunder (Chris Evans; Pocket Books) is an object lesson in why fiction writers should avoid political allegory. Yes, it’s a fantasy reflection of the Vietnam War; on the off-hand chance a reader wouldn’t have figured it out by about page 3, the publisher helpfully spells it out in the blurb.
There might even be something in the book besides allegory – the author is, at least, a reasonably competent wordsmith. The trouble is that the book’s message is hammered home with repetitive and unceasing dullness from the very beginning. By the time I was 10% in, all I wanted was to make it stop. Shortly after that point, I gave up.
Message fiction may not intrinsically be a bad thing, but it requires a lightness of touch that this author – like most others who try it – seems incapable of achieving.
Pro tip: learn to entertain, first. When you have mastered the art of writing fiction that people find engaging and want to read, then you can begin to include message elements. Carefully, quietly, minimally. Beware of over-egging; avoid a bleak, humorless, heavy-handed approach.
Otherwise, your work will fail both as fiction and as message. Which, I fear, is precisely what has occurred here.