This novel was a huge disappointment. The plot was intriguing and the first half or so of the book maintained my attention. However, the book quickly...moreThis novel was a huge disappointment. The plot was intriguing and the first half or so of the book maintained my attention. However, the book quickly devolved into something that I couldn't wait to finish because I was tired of the problems I found with it. Let me provide some constructive criticism for the author in the hopes that he will improve for future endeavors.
First of all, there were no chapters. The novel was divided up into sections that were marked off by hashtags. Where I may see the purpose of this, it can make it difficult for navigating. Also, some of the sections were extremely long and probably should have been broken up a bit.
Second, I didn't see much character development. In fact, the characters actually changed personalities so drastically it was like they were different people and were difficult to recognize--I ended up hating individuals I initially really liked. It was as if they had devolved instead of developed.
Third, parts of the book were rather confusing. The imagery was difficult to grasp (it seems that sometimes the author had some difficulty in conveying the pictures in his head); sometimes a "he" or "she" was ambiguous and the reader couldn't tell to whom that referred in a scene that had more than one male or female; and so on.
Fourth, the book needs a thorough editing. There were excessive spelling ("though" for "through", for example) and grammar issues that made the text difficult to read at times. In addition to that, a good editor would be able to identify aspects of the novel that may seem confusing to a reader.
Fifth, there was so much repetition. For example, many of the sections end with one of the characters heading off to bed or going to sleep. That got annoying. There are lots of ways to close a scene without having a character literally close the scene with their eyes. Please use some imagination.
I can only hope that some of these issues will be fixed in the second installment of this trilogy. (less)
I was initially drawn to this novel because it started off with the story of a young girl who wanted to venture westward on her own to follow after th...moreI was initially drawn to this novel because it started off with the story of a young girl who wanted to venture westward on her own to follow after the man she loved. And parts of the novel were enjoyable. For instance, the main character, Aislynn, did have the independent mind and quick mouth that I love so much in women and young girls. However, I soon found that although she was quite an educated lass, she seemed overly naive and ignorant at times.
I had quite a few problems with the authorship. (1) Some of the conversations were confusing and unbelievable at times. (2) It could be difficult to understand who was speaking on occasion. (3) It was also unclear why some of the chapters ended and began where they did--a chapter might end in the middle of a conversation or at a quite abrupt spot, making the experience a little awkward for the reader. (4) The grammar could be awful at times, though I can't necessarily put the blame on the author, as I was reading from a Kindle. And all of us who read cheaper books on the Kindle know that the conversion text is often not flawless. (5) The introduction of characters could have been done in a better manner. For instance, in the beginning of the text, the individual named Brendan is supposed to be Aislynn's father. However, he is not introduced as such, at least not for a long while, if at all. I remained believing that Brendan and Aislynn's father were 2 separate characters for a long time.
Finally, the last problem I had with this book is that the author expects the audience to know certain facts that aren't presented in the novel and that aren't within reason for the audience to know. For example, she expects the reader to know the story of Ivanhoe when a man is saying this to to our main character, Aislynn: “By the way Rebecca, Ivanhoe ran home to Rowena the first chance he got.” When I came to this sentence, I was quite confused, as it seemed as if the speaker was addressing someone named Rebecca, but no one named Rebecca had been introduced into the novel yet, and the man who was speaking was addressing a girl named Aislynn. And who were these Ivanhoe and Rowena characters? Having looked up the story of Ivanhoe, I now understand the reference––the speaker of this quote is trying to tell Aislynn not to lie in wait for a man who does not love her but instead loves someone else. But I was left stunned and confused at the time I read this sentence. I puzzled over this sentence for many a minute. Had I missed something in the text? No, I hadn't. Very bad form.(less)
**spoiler alert** OK. Though I didn't care much for the first book in this trilogy, I decided to give the second book a chance because I was intereste...more**spoiler alert** OK. Though I didn't care much for the first book in this trilogy, I decided to give the second book a chance because I was interested in the story line and wanted to know how everything ended up. I really wish I hadn't. The problems that were present with the first novel continue in the second one with a few more to note.
The characters Ivy and Ether appear to have multiple personalities. Ivy sometimes acts like a normal being, mature and capable of anything; other times she acts as a child, a brat even, dependent on those around her for her emotional and physical well-being. Ether, likewise, is sometimes condescending, conceited, and flat out mean, unreasonably so; other times, though not exactly friendly, she appears at least neutral or aloof. It's difficult to pin down exactly who these individuals are and what they are like. And that's just a sampling--the other characters in the book have similar flaws.
Moreover, there are too many battles. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not one to shy away from violence, blood, and action. However, the book was riddled with battle after battle after battle, taking away from the development of the plot. And the battles were just confusing--I could no longer picture the battles in my mind (the imagery just wasn't there). It got to the point that I had to scan through the battles because it was just the same thing over and over: Ether turning to stone and wind and water and fire; the cloaks and nearmen being difficult to kill; the stone dragoyles coming down from the sky; etc. It just got so boring.
Finally, you do not kill off your main character (Myranda) in the middle of the second book of your trilogy. When she died in the book, I was tempted to put the book down and just stop reading right then and there. Now, I recognize that she didn't actually die, but we don't find that out until the end of the book. There are better ways of going about shocking your audience with the "death" of the main character and her later resurrection; this was a terrible way to go about it. As a result, I will not be reading the third installment in the trilogy. I just can't be disappointed again. (less)
(summary) This book is about the young life of John Andrews, who as a mere seventeen-year-old experiences strange and horrific paranormal events in a...more(summary) This book is about the young life of John Andrews, who as a mere seventeen-year-old experiences strange and horrific paranormal events in a small village in Cornwall in England. The narrative is told from the perspective of an elderly John Andrews, who has lived out the remainder of his life in relative peacefulness but who is reminiscing on the first two decades or so of his life, which were, for the lack of a better word, chaotic.
This first part of the book focuses on John’s life in Newcastle, both on the events that had the most important effect on John (his brother’s fight with the Mahoney brothers, the outbreak of WWII, and the deaths of people who were very dear to him) and on the characters of the people who played a major role in his life: his mother; father; sister, Morfydd; brother, Callum; and the local oversized bully, Mitch.
After a series of tragedies from which his mother is nearly unable to recover, he moves away with her to his aunt’s house in Tregeagle to escape the emptiness that the familiar surroundings of home brings without one’s loved ones a part of it. Though being in a new place with fresh and lush surroundings as well as with the thrills and chills of a budding romance is initially quite restorative for him, the situation turns quite bleak quite quickly.
John begins to notice unusual things about this tiny village he has come to call home. Not only is this village a little “off” but John begins to have vivid dreams and see strange things during his waking hours that cause him to question his sense of what is real and what is not and to wonder what exactly is going on this quiet little unsuspecting village.
(review) Mr. Kates certainly has a wonderful way with words. His descriptions are painted with such a vivid brush that the reader can actually see the narrative unfold in his/her mind as if it were a movie or a theatrical play, with only the unnecessary details left to the imagination. This type of writing is too often lacking in modern novels, especially novels with a horror theme. Furthermore, the parts that are meant to scare or frighten are written carefully and precisely enough so as not to retreat from the pages too quickly, leaving the reader unfulfilled, nor to move so slowly that the reader is not sufficiently captured by the horror. Finally, good horror novels must also contain good humor, which this book is hardly lacking. So, bravo, Mr. Kates!
Though this was not a historical romance by any means, John Andrews’ experience with his first love played a large part in the second half of the book. I don’t particularly care for romance novels myself, but this book had just the perfect amount of lovey dovey material in it. Moreover, there has been only one other story I have read that has been written in such a sensual way to have caused a lump to settle in my throat, a hollow sensation to form in my stomach, and my breath to catch in my chest. In addition, Mr. Kates’ writing reminded me of thoughts and feelings I had as a teenager when I was dating my current husband. More commendations all around!
Now, to the criticisms. First, I would have preferred to see the first 20–25% or so of the novel incorporated into the story instead of set off at the beginning. There wasn’t really much plot development during these pages and I kept wondering where the story was going and what the point of all of those chapters were. If I hadn’t committed myself to reading this book, I don’t think I would have made it past the fourth or fifth chapter because there just wasn’t any direction in which the plot seemed to be heading.
Second, there were many places that were confusing to me and are potentially confusing to other readers as well. I won’t list them all since that could prove tedious, so I will simply provide the general characteristics of these bewildering areas: (1) there were areas where details were left out of the story where they were most certainly needed to avoid bewilderment, and (2) unusual uses of words were dropped in here and there in the novel.
Third, there was one particular inconsistency to note. Morfydd is said in the beginning to be five years old when John is born in 1930. Later, when John is five years old, she is said to be “barely nine years old.” But how can that be? She would either be ten or even eleven. But she most certainly could not be “barely nine.”
Finally, though quite minor, there are a number of spelling and grammatical errors in the book. They are not in any way numerous enough to detract from one’s enjoyment of the story, but they are still worthy of mention.
Although I did enjoy this book, I definitely felt that it was too short and could have used some more building up. I wish that there had been more to the horror aspect of the novel and about the “village of lost souls.” This is certainly a compliment to Mr. Kates, as I wish I had more of this book to read! (less)
This novel, whose main character is a young half-elf girl, had decent writing (with the exception of the occasional misspelling--the author needs a be...moreThis novel, whose main character is a young half-elf girl, had decent writing (with the exception of the occasional misspelling--the author needs a better editor), but there was no real plot (what was the point, exactly?) and no direction (except that the girl is sold to work for an old woman who makes sausages). It was really short, so it seemed more of an introduction to a novel than an entire novel in itself (not to say that short stories have no value--they have value when there is actually a point and they don't serve to introduce characters that will have a more well-defined role and purpose in a future novel). Regardless, I decided to try out the next volume in this series in the hopes that there would be character and plot development that novels require, and I was similarly disappointed. (less)
This is a book about new beginnings, about starting over, but also about how, at our very core, we as individuals never really change our true natures...moreThis is a book about new beginnings, about starting over, but also about how, at our very core, we as individuals never really change our true natures. Written with a flurry of witticisms and an excellent sense of direction and purpose, this is truly a novel to enjoy.
The plot revolves around a startling and earth-shaking event, when a fraction of the world's population suddenly and inexplicably disappears. Some believe this event to be the Rapture, a prophetic event described in the biblical book of Revelation. However, some assert that because atheists, Buddhists, and other unlikely candidates to enter Heaven were amongst those who disappeared, it seems quite unlikely that this was the Rapture after all.
As time goes on (and as the novel progresses), things slowly return to normal, or at least as close to normal as they can, considering the circumstances. Those who didn't disappear, "the leftovers," must now decide what path they want their lives to take. Some people devote all of their energy and effort into becoming more righteous and devoted to God, believing that the next time he decides to call his people home, they will not be left behind. Then there are those who are not members of this Doomsday Cult, and who must find their way in a world that has utterly changed, in a world that has shifted its priorities, that is filled with sadness and gloom, but that nevertheless will move on, even if they don't want to.
But what is essential to note in all of this is that each individual ends up choosing a new path that is true to his or her nature--the new life each one chooses for him- or herself is predictable in a way. We are who we are, are we not? A valid insight into the deep and sometimes mysterious workings of human nature. (less)