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By far the best self published novel I've read - but really needs a good editor
on 11 February 2014
As the title says, this really is the best self published novel I've ever read - most of those don't even deserve a 1 star review.
It is a good read with a well thought out, gripping storyline but the lack of an editor - or even a really good proofreader - is glaringly obvious at times and keeps throwing me out of the story.
Couple of examples;
*POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*
In one paragraph the author describes the titular Space Carrier Ark Royal as the "oldest" spaceship operated by Humans "anywhere" (in fact this is a major plot point). Just a couple of pages later he describes the carrier passing through a far flung Human colony system whose spaceships were "even older than Ark Royal" (I'm paraphrasing but the point was clear).
At one point we're told there has never been a hint of intelligent alien life elsewhere - that Humanity has concluded it is alone in the galaxy. A few pages later a character casually mentions that there have been fleeting long range sensor contacts with unidentified ships for years.
On another occasion, upon examination of an alien body, we're told the aliens are physically tougher than humans. Later an expert giving a run down on alien features describes them as being weaker.
One character (a senior naval officer) muses to himself that perhaps mass driver weapons, as fitted to the obsolete Ark Royal, are no longer built as the major powers have a secret agreement to limit their use. A few chapters later this theoretical secret agreement is an established fact that everyone knows about. It seems like the author has just realised that the lack of these highly effective weapons on modern ships is a major plot hole and he's scrambling to fill it.
These are just little things but they're not isolated examples, things like this keep cropping up and it's jarring when they do.
Characters and ships appear, do things, or say things when needed to by the plot, even when their presence or existence or statement contradicts earlier events, plot points or statements.
There is frequent overuse of particular words or phrases - the author badly needs another word for both "aliens" and "humanity"; ships lie "doggo" an awful lot and in every attack someone or something is "rocked back on their heels". Again these aren't the only examples of this.
Finally there is an awful lot of repetition of information (anyone who's read any Harry Turtledove will know what I mean by this). If I hear one more time about how:
the Ark Royal's armour and mass drivers make her unique and capable, I'll scream (it's even more annoying when this frequently repeated plot point is contradicted when other armoured and mass driver equipped ships make an appearance when the plot requires them).
The captain is a recovering alcoholic and is afraid one drink will tip him back over the edge... We know! You've told us before!
Again this isn't isolated, certain plot points are absolutely hammered home by repetition, enough so that when it starts to happen I've found myself able to skip entire pages without missing out any plot. Other plot points are so heavily and repeatedly foreshadowed that I've found myself groaning when we come across another "hint" of what's to come and again skipping whole sections.
I'm sorry if this comes across as really negative, it isn't meant to, I'll reiterate that this is by far the best self published novel I've ever read and is well, well worth a read, just be prepared for its idiosyncrasies and be prepared to give the author a little leeway and you'll enjoy it.
Give it a try, there's really nothing to lose. I really hope that the author's deserved success (I hope this has been successful anyway) allows him to employ an editor for the sequels (and if there aren't sequels there should be!)