JK's Reviews > Harm None

Harm None by M.R. Sellars
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Aug 15, 10


There were some interesting ideas and the actual story was decent, but it ultimately failed because the writing was atrocious.


So, the good...

I enjoyed reading an urban fantasy book that didn't dwell on the monsters (supernatural monsters that is) and the fact that it isn't clear as to whether those monsters even exist in this world. The main baddy was trying to summon something with his final killing, but it was never stated if it was possible to do so. There's definitely supernatural/magical stuff happening in the book, so you do know that it's possible for monsters to exist. The only problem with the magic was that the main character, Rowan, constantly talked about how there wasn't really magic with Wicca. The magic was just considered harnessing natural energies and manipulating it, but that's kind of the same thing to me.


And the bad...

The problem I had with the story itself was that it was a bit repetitive. There'd be a murder and the guys would get stuck and then Rowan would have a nightmare about it and some clue would be revealed that would bring them to another murder or revelation... only to have them stuck again. Then Rowan would have another nightmare. And they'd move forward and get stuck. Then Rowan... you get the idea. It was very repetitive in that aspect.

Next you have the characters themselves; I don't think Sellars quite knew who he wanted his characters to be. I never had a real sense of who they were or why they did what they were doing because it always seemed to change. The way the characters spoke was constantly changing as well leaving me wondering who they really were. Like with Ben Storm (detective in the novel, one of the main characters), half the time he'd talk normally, but then at times he would just break out with things like, "y'all" and "whad'ya mean" or anything else similar to that when he'd normally just say "you all" or "what do you mean." It was so random when it happened that I'm not sure which was meant to be how he talked. Then there was Rowan himself - uhg. His method of talking and describing things was all over the place. Sometimes he'd talk like the protagonists of today's novels, but then other times he'd talk like a quaker. It made no sense nor did him calling Ben (his best friend) "my friend" all the time. Sellars would write something like, "I gave my friend the run down of what happened" or "my friend sipped his beverage while watching the dogs." Why would you call your best friend that and not by his/her name? It made no sense. Rowan, and his wife, were also made out to be very peaceful, sympathetic people who care a lot for their surroundings and other people - to the point where they defend someone that has a lot of evidence pointing to their guilt. Now this same couple has a miscarriage and it's just glanced over. They just don't care about it like they should - like any normal couple would. Rowan even asks his wife, "so how are you doing with the whole miscarriage thing." Who the hell would ask a question like that? It was just so at odds with the characters up that point that I almost stopped reading there. This leads me to the writing...


I don't write well, it should be apparent by now in this review, but this book was just terrible. It wasn't even the grammar, it was just the style and word choice. Whenever someone asked a question it would be the question and then "I queried," "he querierd," "she queried," or "my friend queried." Who does that? Who actually uses the word query that often to describe someone asking a question? It got annoying very, VERY fast. Then there were parts where a character described an action like, "I waited for my friend to tell me what was wrong for I didn't want to push him." The book is littered with sentences like that, sentences that just don't read well and aren't believable language. That was another thing that had me almost dropping this book midway. It was so bad I ended up just skimming the last third - which didn't even have me feeling lost or like I was missing anything. If you do end up reading the book you'll find those two things and numerous other examples of terrible writing. Hah, another thing I just thought of - Rowan's description of the internet. He was doing research and kept referring to it as the World Wide Web and then he'd say, "I'm going to search on the 'web' for this information." Sellars also went so far as to explain how searching for something on the internet went. Rowan was only on the computer doing research one time in the book and thank goodness for it - he worked on computers, but talked like an old person when referring to the internet.

The descriptions were pretty redundant as well. Simple actions like dogs playing were so over detailed it was just... for lack of better term, stupid. Characters were described over and over again like you'd forget what they looked like or what their demeanor was if you weren't reminded.


Overall the book was just a chore to get through because of poor writing and character/story development. It had an interesting premise and did illuminate the Wiccan religion a bit, but it just wasn't enough in the end to warrant reading the next in the series.
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