Bry's Reviews > The Key

The Key by Felicia Rogers
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's review
Dec 01, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: 2011, kindle, young-adult, urban-fantasy, series, rubbish
Read from November 17 to December 01, 2011

Warning this is going to be long - mostly because I feel the need to completely express why I am so disappointed with this book after having the pleasure of receiving a copy of the work from the author due to problems with my kindle edition.

This story does have original points and ideas, but it is also the same as everything else. Original elements include the addition of gryphon shifters and the mythology about the gryphon tribes and the human families who could lead to the freedom or their downfall. Sadly though, these great original elements were written into the same boring plot we see with every YA book these days.

A loner girl who has a terrible past? CHECK.
A hot guy who wouldn't normally be interested in her? CHECK.
One of the characters having missing parents and relatively little parental oversight? CHECK.
A love triangle? CHECK.
She is the only one that can save the world? CHECK.

To make matters worse the original plot points just could not overshadow the characters and their weird dialogue, the inconsistencies in both the scenes and the plot, the rushed pacing, or my biggest pet peeve of all - the face that this book is all about telling the reading something instead of showing it to them.

First up - the characters. Maddie and Chase are supposed to be 17 and 18 years old but they speak as if they are 77 and 78. Using phrases like "If you would desire that?" and "I fear something terrible has happened to him". There is no slang, no text speak, no bastardized English at all. It's as if they are both trying to act as mature as possible but are instead channeling the early 1900's. It was incredibly distracting from the story and made me trip up while reading each and every time as I would stop to think to myself "Really? REALLY? Just who are you trying to be here?" And second of all Maddie is one of the most naive and unobservant characters I can remember reading in a LONG TIME. Every other scene I am practically slapping myself on the forehead in annoyance with her. Also, she is just flat out stupid sometimes. She is told that if you do action A then B will be the result. Then she goes through with action A and is completely shocked when B is the result!!! ARGH!!!!

Next we have the inconsistencies. This book could have really used one of those people they have on movie sets that keep track of how the placement of a persons hair, glasses, hands, etc from one shot to another. Anyone seen the YouTube videos of all the oops moments in the Harry Potter films? Like in one scene Harry has no scar, then he has a scar, then he has no scar, then he has a scar again - this book was a bit like that at times. There were several inconsistencies throughout the book as the perspectives changed from character to character. For example in a scene near the beginning of the book Chase takes Maddie to his home to meet his family. His mother is giving the dogs a bath in the tub, then they escape, then Chase is chasing them in the backyard, then he dumps Maddie in the tub. What is never explained is that the tub must be some kind of trough or something as that is the only way to explain that the characters must have been in the back yard the entire time and that the dogs were not in fact being bathed in the tub in the house which is how the text makes it seem. These slight inconsistencies really pulled me out of the story and forced me to reread portions of the scenes to understand just what was going on.

Then there was pacing, which really threw me. Seriously. Maddie meets both of the main male characters ,Chase and Dougal in the very first chapter, and is already completely creeped out by one and fascinated by the other as he is already acting like her best friend and loyal protector. Both Maddie and Chase's romantic relationship and Maddie and Dougal's weird creepy relationship are insanely rushed. The whole book is INSANELY RUSHED. Like the characters are all tripping ourselves as if it were a race to the finish. Little time is spent on fleshing out the settings, or even the characters intentions and reasons for their actions. It reads almost as if the author was trying to fit as many actions scenes as possible into the number of pages she had allotted for the work as a ton of bad shit happens to these characters but they are also pulled from it and survive with ease. (view spoiler)

Finally, there was my greatest pet peeve of all. When I read a book I want the author to SHOW ME, NOT TELL ME. A GLARING example of this is when Grandma Draoi is introduced the author literally put "(pronounced Dree)" after her name to specifically tell the reader what it was supposed to sound like. WTF?? When I read fantasy novels half the fun of the characters names is figuring them out for myself so that when I imagine the character in my head I also imagine their name pronounced a certain way. Or you could do it the brilliant way (i.e. the J.K. Rowling way) and have the pronunciation worked in to the story like when Hermione was trying to tell Victor Krum how to say her name even with his accent. Don't just interrupt the ENTIRE STORY to TELL ME! Other times the author used phrases like "Maddie opened her eyes that she had previously shut in fear" and "she faced the creature as she walked away". Please can I get an adjective, a simile, something to describe these actions instead of just blurting them out. And I am not saying I want this done for every action but at least for a couple of them.

What it all boils down too though is editing. This book was in serious need of a professional editor. One that would catch the typos, the poor formatting (you can't justify the print when there is only 3 words on a line - it looks silly when a whole like of text looks like this), and the inconsistencies. All of these things yank a reader clean out of the story and make them focus on the minutia of the work instead of the work as a whole. More over a good editor could have read the book and realized which sections still needed work, needed to be reordered, needed to be omitted, and just needed to be changed completely. A great editor can take an ok book and make it into a fantastic book. The Key needs/needed this badly. The original plot was there and is good - it just needs some more help and more work.

Despite my probably somewhat harsh words and low rating I am extremely pleased with the author herself as I originally purchased this book on kindle through Amazon and somehow ended up with a draft copy of the novel complete with notes, and severe formatting issues (although somethings like the name pronunciation thing that I took to be a editing error was still in the paper copy). She quickly contacted me through goodreads and tried to make it right by offering and quickly sending a personalized copy of the book so that I could finish reading it, with a note thanking me for bringing the kindle issue to her attention. I really appreciate the fact that she didn't just gloss over it or pass on the problem to Amazon or the publisher but sought to correct it herself and in a very timely manner.


******
Original Review:
I am holding off on reviewing this book as I am hoping to get my hands on a paper copy or at least an updated kindle copy (one that is sans editors notes and with proper formatting). I am pretty sure the copy I got was one of the first drafts for the book - and if it wasn't - then damn this book is awful. But I am crossing my fingers that the publisher is just awful for putting the unfinished work out into the world.

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Reading Progress

11/01/2011
7.0% "Initial reaction is that this book starts in the middle. No description of anything, just jumps right in. Chase and Maddie have already met, have already had a weird reaction to one another, and are already super interested in the other. Plus the kindle edition is FULL of editors notes. It's really unprofessional that didn't load a final copy to Amazon and instead put up a working draft copy that I just paid for."
11/01/2011
14.0% "I am convinced this isn't the final draft of this book. It is the only way to explain why it is so awful. There are blatant inconsistencies (like from one page to the next!), no segways between scenes of POV's. Actually this seems like a first or second draft!"
11/01/2011
25.0% "I'm quitting. All I can hope is that the kindle copy is a working draft of the story and not the final because it truly sucks. Either way what seemed like a great story has been ruined for me by an unprofessional copy of the book." 6 comments
11/17/2011 page 97 "Got a paper copy from the super sweet author since the kindle coy had so many formatting issues so I am giving this one another shot. I retread what I had originally read on my kindle and while I still like the story I am having issues with the writing style but that's just a personal thing."
12/01/2011 page 151 "I am going to finish this. I am! I am still having lots of issues with it though."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Traci The paper copy is no better! The idea of this book is good but that's it! It needs to be reworked and the author should find a new editor and publisher! They did not help her or her book!


message 2: by Bry (new) - rated it 1 star

Bry Traci wrote: "The paper copy is no better! The idea of this book is good but that's it! It needs to be reworked and the author should find a new editor and publisher! They did not help her or her book!"

I think you are totally right. Kinda sad really. Like you said the premise to the story is a fantastic idea, just poor execution and checking.


Traci The best part was when Chase gets home and his mother tells the twins to throw the ball outside. (I don't remember their names but something like "Colin and Chris"). Then something is said about "Criag and Curt" being at school to try out for football. I was like who the hell is Craig and Curt! But it turns out that 30 pages later you find out that Chase has four brothers and all their names start with a "C"!


message 4: by Bry (new) - rated it 1 star

Bry And his mother is Carissa! What's weirder is that when he speaks to his mom he calls her mom, but when he thinks of her he calls her Carissa. Plus he speaks like he is from victorian England telling his mother "not to despair" and other such phrases.


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