Misty's Reviews > Insight

Insight by Terron James
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Jun 18, 13

bookshelves: books-i-ve-reviewed
Read from September 12 to October 31, 2011

I had the opportunity to re-review Insight. I originally reviewed the Indie book, and it has since been published by a small press publisher.

I immediately knew the updated version would be better when I read the new prologue. It was spot on. Most of my issues with the first manuscript were addressed in the new one, things such as the pacing and too much description. However, the new manuscript seems to have the addition of perhaps too much explanation. There is nothing left for me to figure out. Putting two and two together has already been done, like the author is afraid I won't get it--though in my first review (see below) I DID say that there was more going on than the average YA reader would get.

I felt better connected to the characters this time around, but their dialogue with each other still does not ring true with me. The sentences are still too long and too formal, even when the characters are joking with each other. I don't know if that's kind of a genre specific form (don't read a lot of fantasy over here) or a specific stylistic choice that I am just not liking. Either way, I wouldn't want to meet any of these characters and have to carry on a conversation with them. It would be exhausting.

The pacing has also been addressed, and yet the first half of the book still seems very slow--even though there is plenty of action. I have to wonder what would happen if we dropped Lon into the Exile in the first scene and only the necessary info from the first half of the book was revealed slowly over time. If we first saw Lon as a Raider and only caught glimpses into why he is what he is and what he gave up to do it and what he stands to gain.

I'm not trying to rag on the book. It's good, and you will probably like it. But I don't think it is yet all that it could be.

I base my stars on my own enjoyment of books, and so I am keeping my stars at 3 of 5. The new manuscript is trimmed in some places, expanded in others, but it is essentially the same story told in the same way. You can read my original review below.

OLD REVIEW--Terron James successfully creates believable characters that live in a world they do not fully understand. As the plot progresses, the three main characters are each immersed in situations that test them and require them to grow--the key element in a Young Adult novel. Effectively using cause and effect, James forces his characters to become adults in a world they come to understand. However, being that Insight is the first in a new series, they do not fully reach that potential in this book.

To me--and I'm basing my opinion on the genres I normally read--Insight does not read like other YA novels. Almost every instance of dialogue is written in complete sentences, not the way people, and teens especially, talk at all. This is cumbersome to read at times and seldom rings true, making me distrustful somehow of most of the characters. Lon's father's habit of calling him "Son" is so patronizing (moreso because I think it is intended to be a sign of caring) I almost couldn't overlook it to enjoy the story, which is well thought-out. While the descriptions of the setting are delightfully detailed, the meat of the story sometimes gets lost in their complexity. And while the descriptions of each character's feelings and motives are sufficient, they would be more powerful if they were shown in the character's actions more than told in the narration.

As you know, my favorite novels always involve romance, and this one has it--sort of. Lon's reasons for leaving home are based on his love for Kaylen, which sounds romantic, but the two actually have very little interaction, not enough to solidify their feelings for each other. At first I thought it wasn't enough to base his actions on, but while Lon's feelings for Kaylen are weak, they are more complex than I originally thought because they are rooted both in his desire to fulfill an ideal which his parents have created and in his competitive satisfaction at having won against Braedr in securing Kaylen's affection. But even that is a really easy choice for Kaylen because Braedr is a jerk, reinforcing the idea that Lon's love is not enough to justify his actions, but those more complex and subtle issues are. So, I think there is a lot more going on in this storyline than the average YA would pick up on, but the story works either way.

I give Insight 3 of 5 stars based on my own enjoyment of it, but I recommend it to all Fantasy readers, young and old, and expect that anyone more interested in and knowledgable about the Fantasy genre than I am would easily give it 4 or 5 stars

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Reading Progress

10/24/2011 page 300

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Before Kelli moved to Riverton, she lived in this guy's ward...small world!

Misty Nic wrote: "Before Kelli moved to Riverton, she lived in this guy's ward...small world!"

Hey, that's weird!

Terron James This review was of a prototype, before the official June 2013 publication by Jolly Fish Press.

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