Top critical review
Sickly sweet but readable
on 28 December 2011
A while back I left a fairly scathing review for this author's first novel in the Modern Witch series (no plot, no drama, everyone excessively nice...), but I had already downloaded this little novella, and couldn't bring myself to dump it without at least trying it.
And I have to say that this is VASTLY better than that 1st novel, though still not up to 3 star status IMO.
The writing is still smooth and well expressed. The world feels three dimensional and interesting. There is so much scope and potential for this concept, plot, worldview, and there are fascinating possibilities for stories but these opportunities are simply not being used.
There is still too much obvious info. (Too often) we are told what is happening instead of being able to observe it for ourselves. There is FAR more plot (thank heavens) - I would say that in this short novella there is three times the plot of that other novel - yet there still isn't enough. No real story arc, just a trundling romance that goes to a-z without even the usual stress, abandonment and inner crisis that you expect. Oh, wait, there was one morning's worth of angst, that was sorted out by a quick chat with the perfect mother/friend/wise woman/teacher architype.
The people are also FAR too nice. Even the kids in a juvenile detention centre all seem to have hearts of gold and amazing world class talents that just need a kind and caring adult (with business connections) to sort them out with a great career for life. Lip service is paid to the horrors of child abuse, but it is all safely off screen.
The author also seems to be obsessed with food. Not just interested, preoccupied or distracted by food. OBSESSED.
I am glad I read it. It is MUCH better than that first novel, and I am very pleased for that. The writing style is genuinely readable. However, I was also very glad that it wasn't any longer than a novella, because there is only so much cheerful cutesey romance I can take at a time.