Top critical review
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An unrewarding disposable which is no Harry Potter.
on 11 March 2002
I love reading, and am always keen to find a new author to 'get into'. I saw this book being discussed on breakfast tv, and thought I'd give it a try. Courtesy of Amazon, it was on my doorstep in two days.
Oh dear, what a disappointment.
It's written entirely in the present tense, which makes for a very difficult read - the entire book demonstrates why stories are generally told retrospectively, rather than as an on-going 'live' commentary. I never had the chance to settle into the world within it's pages.
Also, the sentences are very short and disjointed, which makes the events of the story seem vague and ill-planned, as if the book was written while the author was distracted.
No effort has been made to create an environment for the characters to live in - any descriptions and word-paintings are kept to a bare minimum, which didn't make me feel at all welcome in the author's world. If an environment doesn't exist in the author's mind, it won't exist in the reader's mind. This also applies to the characters, who are almost entirely void of personality, happiness or joy. Conversations take place simply to move the story along to the next page, rather than to give life to the main characters, and the same can be said of their actions.
Don't be fooled by the number of pages - the text is big, and many sentences occupy half a line. Some pages are nothing but a series of functional, short and sharp quotes exchanged between characters which made me feel like I was reading a rough script, rather than a novel. Any book needs characters who have some redeeming features, but none of the ones you'll encounter are particularly likeable. They all live in a grim uncaring world full of grim uncaring people, and by the time I reached the end of the book I simply didn't care what happened to any of them.
If as much time had been spent on developing the characters and their environment as has been spent on hyping and promoting this book, I'm sure the end product would have been excellent and well worth recommending.
I found this to be an unrewarding read, but on the positive side, I now feel encouraged to sit down and put pen to paper myself, and see if I can do better.