Hal Bodner's Reviews > Women Scorned

Women Scorned by Angela Alsaleem
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May 16, 12

Read in May, 2012

Ye gods, what a mess!

This book is a disaster on so many levels. There are one or two truly interesting ideas in it but they remain inchoate, struggling to emerge from a mish mosh of a novel that never seems to figure out what it's supposed to be.

For the most part, the actual writing isn't bad. At least Alsaleem knows how to construct a sentence. But the story itself, an amalgamation of a semi-zombie plot, an ersatz "epic" dealing with secret societies with High Priests and Priestesses (who apparently live in a parallel dimension), reincarnation and a spot or two of barely digestible "torture porn" thrown in for good measure, is like a stew made from an inferior recipe with the cook tossing more and more spices into the melange hoping against hope for some improvement in taste.

Whenever I read a book where a character is referred to as "chosen" for some higher purpose AND when there are those pesky High Priestesses and Priests thrown in, as far as I'm concerned, somebody had better be named Rosemary -- and Angela Ansaleem is no Ira Levine!

The most interesting character -- the only interesting character in my opinion -- is a young lady who longs to be a pathologist but has been declined acceptance to medical school. Thus, she resorts to stealing bodies from graveyards and morgues in order to "practice" her chosen profession. Sounds like a pretty original and interesting idea, right? But under the onslaught of fairly incompetent prose, it becomes a ridiculous conceit which is inconsistent with itself and with the rest of the book.

The sad part is that the novel starts out with a helluva lot of promise. But it rapidly degrades from there. Rarely do I have to force myself to slog through a novel until the end. This was, unfortunately, one of those times. Even the "torture porn" scenes which should at the least be designed to be titillating to dark and baser instincts were bland and uninteresting and, worse, seemed contrived and did nothing to further the plot or develop characters.

One has hopes for this author. As I said, some of the basic ideas hold a lot of promise. But there is a distinct lack of literary maturity in the work. Every author is entitled to "miss" once in awhile and, as I'm unfamiliar with anything else of Ansaleem's, I hope WOMAN SCORNED is merely an aberration. If not, the author needs to realize that writing an novel is more than tossing a bunch of clever ideas into a pot, stirring them vigorously, and hoping something readable bubbles to the top.
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