I just really didn't become attached to the characters. I got three quarters of the way through the book and I couldn't remember who was who or why I...moreI just really didn't become attached to the characters. I got three quarters of the way through the book and I couldn't remember who was who or why I should care.
I make it no secret that I'm not a fan of self-publishing for a number of reasons. I'...more2 stars. Good start, but does need improvement.
I make it no secret that I'm not a fan of self-publishing for a number of reasons. I'm sure it works out for some people, but the issue I take with it is that people publish unpolished copies of their work. I feel like this will be less of a review and more of a beta-read instead as there are so many things that I want to correct in this story and encourage the author to do to improve it.
Let me start with what I enjoyed.
The premise of the story is very interesting. And there are some very exciting moments in the plot. The dialogue moves the pace of the story along quite well which means that it doesn't feel like it lags anywhere. Pacing can always be a new author's struggle and I feel it's been handled rather well in this story.
I liked the risk that the characters were up against. All the questions they had to ask themselves while they were fleeing. Not knowing who they could trust and then discovering that people they thought they could trust, they really couldn't was all very tense. And tension makes a good story.
I didn't hate the story. I absolutely did not hate it. I see the potential in this being a good, action-packed, YA book. But, to me, this feels like it's the rough draft.
So this is what I think should be improved:
This is almost like a skeleton of a story in some ways. It is very dialogue heavy and needs to be fleshed out with setting details. While I don't dislike the dialogue and I do feel that it gives the characters something to do, you can't carry an entire plotline with just talking. There needs to be description beyond the physical list of what the characters look like. We need to absolutely know these people inside and out or we, as readers, don't come to care about what happens to them.
All five senses should be used (what do things sound like? Smell like? Taste like?) and a lot more research needs to be done. For instance, in just the first chapter they are at an airport in California and checking their bags at the same time that the flight begins to board. Logically, the main character would not have enough time to get through security and to her gate before the boarding closed. Also a basic travel search will show you that there is there is no way that there will be a nonstop flight from California to Maine. I used to live in New Brunswick, Canada (the province that borders Maine) and I've flown across the country before from Bangor, ME to the west. At best, you have one stop. At worst... three or four.
I looked at both Portland and Bangor airports for this information on Travelocity and Expedia.
So that's just one bit of research that could be worked on. As a recommendation, I would advise some heavy edits and a change in setting. Don't place your main plot in an area of the country of which you are unfamiliar. I don't know what month this story takes place (edit: I found out on page 170 that it's December), but I've been in a Maine winter and someone from California would take weeks to adjust to the temperature difference. We're talking temperatures that get down to 40 below and snow that is dry, not fluffy and doesn't stick together. It's hella cold and there are HUGE risks of hypothermia.
There are some grammatical and punctuation issues which could be easily fixed with a good beta-read. I emailed the author directly about punctuation in dialogue, which stuck out on the first page.
I really want to know more about the characters. I find that it's all too vague in showing us who these people are beyond their names and physical descriptions. This isn't a horrible thing because of course you do need to know what all these people look like. It's something that definitely comes with practice. The author knows her characters, but as a reader, I find myself not knowing anything about the main character and her power or the personalities of the other named people. Who are they? Why should I be attached to them? What is my (as a reader) motivation for wanting the main character to succeed?
(Small spelling error: Psychic, not physic)
It's really exciting to write a story, heaven knows that I understand this all too well. That's why my bachelor's degree is in creative writing. It seems like I'm being really harsh, but if you look at my reviews, at least the ones where I give the most con-crit... it's for stories that I want to see made better.
And I do think that this has potential.
Don't give up!! This story can be good. It can be amazing. It's not there quite yet and just needs more work before you start putting it out to the world. Make these characters real to the readers. Because I want to care about Carrie and what happens to her. And I think the author has the ability to make that happen.
I would recommend more reading. If you do not read, you cannot write. Read voraciously. Read often. And don't use Stephenie Meyer as an inspiration. That woman does not have the skills and it's why she's really only a one-hit wonder (I suppose you could say two-hit wonder).