Shawn Bird's Reviews > Raven

Raven by Suzy Turner
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's review
Jun 19, 12

bookshelves: ya, never-read-these
Read from August 24 to September 05, 2011

** spoiler alert ** First, what I liked: 1. this is a very effective cover. 2. I am in awe of Suzy Turner's marketing that has this book all over the place at the moment. 3. I also like the premise, but I'm sad that it wasn't edited into anything.

A major irritation was the "telling not showing" issue. As a reader, I can tell what a raised eyebrow or a wink means. I don't need several more sentences to explain it. I would have liked to have seen dialogue used to advance the plot. For example: to show HOW characters are bonding, rather than to be told they 'talked into the night and bonded.' Dialogue is the best way to reveal characters and plot events, and it was sorely lacking. I found the characters quite stilted and uni-dimensional because they couldn't reveal themselves.

I would probably have liked it more if I wasn't an English teacher. The average 13 year old is probably not going to notice that there were mechanical errors on almost every page. Between spelling errors, incorrect verbs, and poorly wielded commas, I was frustrated enough to have to put the book down several times. I usually read a book in one or two settings, so that is huge for me.

I did not believe the instant love interest between Lilly and Oliver. She is 13. He has graduated from high school and has been working, so he's 18 or 19. I have taught both age levels. Trust me: never the twain shall meet! Any 18 year old interested romantically in a 13 year tends to be seriously slimy. I just kept wondering what was wrong with him. Then, just as quickly as he fell in, he falls out of love and has to leave the community. That didn't work with the set up. I presume he'll show up in the later books, but frankly, I don't really care.

The biggest concern I have relates to the fact that I live in BC. This book is set in BC and it is plain that there was not a Canadian editor checking accuracy. At the beginning, I was sharing some of this in the nail salon and had staff and clients laughing at the errors. FYI- here soda is pop, a beanie is a toque, a rucksack is a backpack, and the likelihood of a scone showing up as a packed lunch is very, very low. A muffin or some bannock, on the other hand, would have fit.

I was also really irritated by the fact that Lilly's family is introduced as the Tulugaqs. My first thought was "Why does her family have an Inuit name, if they're from around Vancouver?" I double checked to be sure. Yes, 'tulugaq' is Inuktitut for raven, so Turner got that right. However, Powell River, where Lilly's family lives, is the land of the Sliammon people- a Coast Salish tribal group, not the Inuit. In Sliammon language, raven is 'poho.' (It took me about 45 seconds to check that information). I waited all book to hear the back story of why the family had moved 2000+ km from the Inuit lands of the North to come live in Powell River, but it didn't happen. This is equivalent to setting the Scottish Picts in North Africa without explanation! Rather a huge error. I will grant, however, that it is unlikely to be spotted by anyone from outside Canada.

Another error that made me grumpy: The end of January she has just gotten her cast off. Lilly says she wore it 2 months, which means her implausible log crushing accident was the end of November. During her time in a cast she celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas. If she was in the USA, she might just have made Thanksgiving, but in Canada, our Thanksgiving happens the second Monday of OCTOBER- 5 or 6 weeks before the accident.

I believe an author needs to be responsible about setting. Not everyone will notice your errors, but it is important to be respectful enough to the 'host community' to get it right. It's the difference between an okay story and a great one. These significant issues made it very difficult for me to enjoy this book.

What is quite sad is that most of the problems should have be dealt with in editing.

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

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Anna OMG. So all of this is actually really interesting, and if I had known any of it, I honestly wouldn't have given it 3 stars! Those are some really bad mistakes! I guess you're right though, that no one would have noticed outside Canada, because I'm in the US and I didn't think anything of it!

message 2: by Grace (new)

Grace I'm so glad I read this review- I can't stand books with errors and old-young relationships. I probably would've thrown a temper tantrum if I read this ._.

message 3: by Rachael (new) - added it

Rachael I was literally just ranting to my dad about 75% of what you said. Great idea, but someone else should have done it.

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