Greg Spry's Reviews > Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol: Book I

Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol by Joe Dacy II
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- All in all, I enjoyed this solid technothriller about a French database programmer hunted by US intelligence services because of her brother's invention of a new communications technology. The content of the story is inventive and compelling. That said, certain ways in which the author chose to write the content often made the prose a chore to read. Below, I've listed what I think the author did well and what I believe could stand some improvement.

Done Well
- The story concept is unique and inventive. Not many writers cast a DBA (database programmer) as a main protagonist, so that was refreshing. Casting French agents as the good guys and Americans as the bad guys was also a nice change of page.
- When events/actions are being shown and unfolding without over-explanation, the story is darn good.
- Clearly, the author researched the underlying science and technology.
- The story had the feel of a major motion picture such as the Bourne Identity. I could see this on the big screen.

Suggested Areas for Improvement
- The story often moves at a snail's pace because of double and sometimes triple redundancy. The author explains what's going to happen (setup), then shows things happening (the actual story), and then recaps what happened. Only the middle part is necessary. Setup and recaps should be interspersed throughout the unfolding story, not go on for pages all on their own. Counter-intuitively, events in a work of fiction typically precede explanations so the reader knows why they should care. For example, I caught myself losing interest whenever the antagonist was sitting around his threat room plotting or in a meeting explaining what had happened.
- I agree with Stephen King that the informational "scenes" the author included have no place in fiction. Text that reads like it was cut 'n paste out of an encyclopedia kills the tension and flow. For example, I don't need to know the background and history of the scientist, Tesla, to understand and enjoy the story. If I care, there's always Wikipedia. A sentence or two is fine but not pages.
- Bullet points are an inappropriate way to provide explanation in fiction. It's a sure sign of telling rather than showing.
- All the foreshadowing was unnecessary, killed the tension, and even seemed a bit amateurish. "Little did he know, his plan wouldn't work out." I don't want hints about what will or won't happen. Don't rob me of the reveals. Let me find things out as events unfold.
- I'm a strong advocate for limited viewpoint and don't care for the omniscient viewpoint in which this story was written. All the head-hopping is jarring and creates a more distant perspective that doesn't immerse the reader as well. Still, this is just my opinion.
- There's too much tech talk at times. As an IT professional and software developer, I understood everything, yet the specific SQL terminology like primary keys and where clauses bogged me down. The author narrows his target audience by getting too technical. That level of detail isn't necessary to get the point across. Sometimes, less is more and makes the story flow better.
- The character development was sufficient to move the story forward but could stand some improvement. Each character serves a purpose plot-wise. The main protagonist has lots of cool gear and abilities, but I don't really feel like I truly got to know Esquelle as a person, and her character isn't always consistent. When she's not using her database skills, she's crying or giggling like a school girl. Also, I wanted Esquelle to take more direct action to drive the plot. She does a few things that save the day, but throughout over half of the story, she's hiding away somewhere while events take place.
- One disappointing thing was that the author didn't do much with the main driving plot point. Two countries are vying for possession of a communications device capable of sending signals into the past or future. The implications of that are mind-boggling, yet the author barely explores these possibilities.
- Some character motivations and plot drivers didn't add up for me. Why would certain characters help Esquelle at great personal risk to themselves or risk their lives to betray their country? Why are the antagonists obsessed with Esquelle to the point of wanting to kill her when what they really want is her brother and the technology he invented?

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Reading Progress

May 5, 2015 – Started Reading
May 5, 2015 – Shelved
May 13, 2015 –
page 146
May 31, 2015 –
page 291
June 18, 2015 –
page 436
July 4, 2015 – Finished Reading

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