Full and fair disclosure:I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I can honestly say that this is one of the moFull and fair disclosure:I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I can honestly say that this is one of the most unique and original stories that I’ve read in a very long time. The Painted Clan is an interesting bunch, with an almost tribal relationship that sets them apart from the rest of humanity as much as their physical features do. There is no doubt that this is the first in a series and as such, devotes much time to setting up the world the Clan lives in and the character and history of the group. This brings us to the first and by far most daunting issue I found with the book. There are so many characters that it’s virtually impossible to keep track of them all. Even two-thirds of the way through the book, I found myself thinking that I needed a chart or at the very least a family tree to help me remember who they all were. It seems counter-intuitive, but the weirdness of their names only made it worse, partly because the author regularly switched between the characters’ full names and their nicknames. With the expansive size of the cast of characters, the name/nickname thing just added to the long list of things to try to remember. Even after finishing the book, I STILL don’t have all the characters straight in my head. Just be warned that the character list does not get whittled down in any meaningful way during the story, so it can be overwhelming.
I encountered a few typos and punctuation errors, but not so many that it detracted from the story. There are a few regional and cultural expressions that were outside the typical American vernacular, but none that I recall struggling to understand. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal story, so suspension of disbelief is obviously a part of enjoying it, though I did find myself struggling with one particular aspect.
SPOILERS AHEAD:(view spoiler)[I can excuse the behavior of most of the parents of the Clan kids. Parents are by far the most likely to overlook, excuse, and rationalize odd or unusual aspects of their children. Even more feasible to me is that the physical nearness to the Clan children might somehow influence the parents to be more tolerant of their differences in some way, though the author never actually says such a thing occurs. What I had serious trouble with, though, was the notion that no one else in the town and school seemed to bat an eye at their undeniable weirdness. That just does not ring true. These kids aren’t merely typical teens sporting vibrant hair. They’re utterly alien in a variety of ways, from their hair colors, to their eyes, to their sizes, to their barely leashed violence, to their pack mentality, not to mention a variety of other physiological and mental traits. They demonstrated less and less control over themselves as they aged, yet none of the adults demonstrated the slightest bit of concern or disquiet. The teaser for the book suggests that the residents of the town the kids live in are waiting with baited breath for something to happen, but there’s absolutely no real sense of that in the book. If they’re too scared of the kids to question them or somehow caught up in some kind of psychic enamor that makes them strangely accepting of them, there’s no way to know because there’s practically zero time dedicated to exploring what anyone outside the kids themselves and a few of their parents think. Even the thoughts of the parents are mostly only mentioned as a sort of aside, as though the author realized that they had to react in some way to at least some of the wild events that constantly occurred in their homes. (hide spoiler)]
By the time I reached the end of the story, I was prepared for the cliffhanger I’d be left with. So much time was necessarily devoted to introducing the characters that there’s little time for further story development after things finally begin to come together, which is a shame because things were just starting to get interesting. As I said earlier, this is obviously the first in a planned series. If you aren’t a fan of cliffhangers or being forced to wait for another book to get anything approaching resolution, then you may want to skip this book. If you like creative ideas that haven’t been done to death and aren’t intimidated by a cast of characters that could fill a small amphitheater, then you should consider giving it a try. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more