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how not to create characters
on 13 July 2011
I have to start by explaining I am an editor and, whether I like it or not, I tend to read critically, even when I want nothing more than to get lost in a book. This is not a book to get lost in, especially if you happen to be female.
The author knows nothing whatsoever about women. He knows nothing whatsoever about what people need to do but oh, do they endlessly eat in this book! We have a full menu, including wine, the moment they sit at a table and a waiter hovers into view... I do not like food and do not like having to read lengthy translated descriptions of the 'foreign' dishes the heroine consumed.
The characters were all, to a man, stereotyped. The Russians were decidedly Russian and all but Mafia men, who happened to have picked up the infuriating habit which English people have of saying 'to be honest' which I a) hate and b) do not think a Russian would use. I wonder where the editor was to let that through... Magenta House (hideous and stupid name) were all stereotypical spymasters, every non English person was ultra typical of his country, the routes they all took were described in detail, the buildings equally described in detail ...
Methinks this book could have been and should have been about 100 pages less than it was with a tighter better storyline and less stereotypical characters. I did not finish it. There comes a point when even for the sake of the money paid out, I cannot finish a book when there are much better ones waiting on the shelf. I seriously wanted to challenge the author on his thinking and the editor on the editing, which was at fault. 'they turned into a factory yard.' How did they make that transformation? Lazy writing. The guard dogs are NOT Alsatians, I have to say, they would have been German Shepherds if anything. and 'chained dogs barked' is the oddest sentence in the book. Guard dogs bark. It's what they're bribed with meat and bones to do. Don't state the obvious.
No, I did not like this book and sorry to say I am not prepared to risk reading another one unless someone assures me that the editor has resigned and someone who knows their job has taken over and will edit the book to within an inch of its life if it has to be done to get something that worth reading.