The Book Needs Work, But Hopefully the Author will Consider Resurrecting It
I received a free copy of this book and it looked interesting. But this book is really more of a first draft than a final manuscript, no matter that it’s published and sold on Amazon. I have been in several writing groups for years and that experience combined with my own writing efforts makes me think that this story needs more work before it’s ready to be read.
Some of the problems I had with it include:
It’s written in first-person with mostly I-subject sentences. In other words, most of the sentences read: “I did this. Then I did that. I did something else. I felt this way, then I felt that way. And finally I did another thing.”
There is nothing wrong with first-person POV. But that’s only if the author doesn’t spend all of his or her time expounding on what “I” did. In fact, I can’t remember the name of the character, because most of the time she referred to herself as “I.” (Her name is Dina Durst.)
In fact, even one of the initial bad guys doesn’t have a name for most of the story. Dina refers to him as “Nameless” most of the time.
You may be saying, “but no one refers to themselves by their own name, Jennifer.” True. But you have conversations with other people, and those other people might call you by name. But there was almost no dialog in the entire book. Most conversations were two exchanges long and then they would stop and the author would write “I ran my plan through my mind, eagerly awaiting the moment that I would be able to launch into action.” Um, really? What is the plan? If it wasn’t interesting enough to include in the story, why are you bothering to tell me about it?
Most writing teachers tell their students to “show, don’t tell.” (1) But this story is all about the telling, and very little about the showing. I learned all about how magic works in this world, but almost nothing about what happens when a spell is cast. Many scenes would start out exciting, “My mind filled with wondrous visions of the road ahead. I already knew my destination, but the path to it was filled with endlessly satisfying possibilities. First step was finding Joe….” And then would end boring “He would soon be the one cowering in fear.”
Most of the scenes were too short. I suspect this comes from the telling of the story rather than the showing of it. In other words, it takes a lot longer to describe a fight scene as it’s happening than it does to say “The ogre and the giant fought. The giant won.” But is that more interesting than a full description of the fight itself? If the fight isn’t important to the story, then by all means, leave out the description. But you need to describe something. As I said before, I got bored learning about what spells do. I wanted to see a fireball rip through the body of the nameless guy who had attacked her in the first chapter.
What is the Story About?
The story starts out strong, but violent. Dina is attacked, raped, and left for dead. This should make a reader feel both empathy for the victim and excited as we find out what happens. But I felt nothing. Normally violent stories, and especially stories about rape, can really bother me, but this story didn’t twist my senses at all.
In fact, as Dina remained depressed and almost blasé about what had happened to her, I started wondering if I was reading the euphemism “violated” incorrectly. Perhaps the author just meant that she had been severely beaten. But even so, I felt nothing. I didn’t really care that she had been attacked, and although the character said things like “…my anger bubbled to a new high….” I didn’t feel it.
Dina first gets a blue creature that has no name and doesn’t speak. It is apparently a familiar or something. It’s called a “companion.”
Then she meets the woman who becomes her mentor–Alejandra. Alejandra lives in what I believe was supposed to be like a haunted house. I say “believe” because I am really not sure. There was a mention of some “strange noises” but the mentor never seems to notice them, and Dina decides to ignore them almost immediately.
These sounds come up towards the end of the story as evidence of Alejandra’s character, but that just confused me. I kept asking myself “if she’s hearing weird sounds and no one else seems to hear them, is she hallucinating?”
Alejandra has almost zero character development. She has a name, a house with strange noises, a daughter we meet once (or perhaps twice) and she teaches Dina magic. So when she is a major part of the final plot development, I found myself, again, struggling to care.
This Book Felt Important to the Author
I got the strong impression that this story was very important to the author, but difficult to tell. Amadeo really wanted us to understand what happened to Dina and sympathize with her. Or at least agree that she might have a point in going for revenge.
But I don’t know what Amadeo’s circumstances are. I don’t know Amadeo at all. I only know what is in the book in front of me. And that book did not have enough details for me to care much about the characters or stay focused on the plot.
Why I Kept Reading
You are probably wondering why I continued to read this book if it was so bad. Well, honestly, it was mostly stubbornness. I had skimmed a few other reviews and it sounded like the book was fairly short. So ultimately, I figured I could just finish it to finish it.
But I must, in fairness, say that the world that Resurrection is set in is interesting, even if the characters and plot were not. I think that if Amadeo were to find a writing group that is willing to critique the writing rather than simply gush over how wonderful it is or say nothing, this book might have promise.
I’d love to read Resurrection once it’s had a few more drafts written.
And What About Book Two?
At the end of Resurrection there was a blurb for book two. This excerpt had more dialog than all of Resurrection put together. Which makes me think that Amadeo is learning more writing techniques. Or at least learning that dialog is more interesting to read. Who knows, I might be convinced to read it. But then again, I might need a bit more convincing.