Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 22 July 2013
Where to start! This is a somewhat run-of-the-mill story strung out, over an interminably large number of pages, it seemed to go on, and on and for large chunks of time go nowhere!
The author clearly know their way around horses and equestrian pursuits, but I am not really clear who the book is for! For non-horsey types it will quickly lose them with the use of the vernacular; terms and phrases common to the horse world that are not explained! If it is for equestrians, then much of the horse stuff is basic, and redundant and there are a couple of glaring factual errors (two examples: a character completes their one day event with a double clear and some time faults on the cross-country to finish on their dressage score of 29.5 - if you know eventing then you know what's wrong with that sentence! Second: the characters are competing in "pre-novice" classes but the story is contemporary so they should be in BE100 classes!!).
The author also likes to use stock phrases and this gets irritating! Every time someone gets out of their car they "carefully lock it", even though most cars in the story would simply need to have a button pressed on the key fob! Also, every single time anyone goes anywhere in a car they "ram it into gear" which is both unnecessary to the narrative and not typical of most drivers, besides most cars, in the story will be automatics, so this is pretty much impossible! I also think the author needs to understand what "proverbial" means as it is liberally used where words like ubiquitous or clichéd would be more appropriate!
The biggest problem, with the book though (or at least the version I read) is the copy writing itself! If you have got this far in my review you, no doubt have noticed an over-use of exclamation marks! And misplaced commas! And rambling sentences with numerous extensions! This is my attempt to prepare you for the book, as it is in desperate need of proof reading and editing! OK, I'll stop now!!
Seriously, the writing style and punctuation made this almost unbearable. I persevered and eventually, some way into it, eventually became invested in the storyline and saw it through to the end. I nearly didn't get past the first page though. Besides the grammar and punctuation there are abundant spelling mistakes and mistaken word use, as well as some glaring errors (examples: "their" used instead of "they're", "they'll" used where it should be "there'll"). There is also inconsistency in work use: "per se" is used a couple of times (again not really correctly) but once it is "per se" and then "per-se". The biggest one is the place where horses are ridden for flat work. It is described as a "ménage", "menage" and "manege" at various times, although from memory never the correct "manège". And at times the narrative is written like a stream of consciousness or a Facebook update (note: not "Face Book"), not a carefully crafted novel. Finally (although I could go on) some characters seem to have been educated in the 1980s, despite being relatively young in the story, as they appear to have achieved various 'O' level exams, when they would have been sitting GCSEs. Perhaps the story was written a long time ago and has only recently been published? These are the things that proof reading and editing would pick up.
Behind all this is a slightly interesting story with some drama and tension, but it plays out fairly obviously and the reveals are not well-timed nor that revealing. The characters are mostly bland (and, of course, most are in some way beautiful or attractive - no uglies in the horse world you know). And, like this review, wow - does it go on!!