"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
I'm trying to become more open to self-published books, especially since many of them have (so I've been told) attained higher levels of professionalism in the last few years. And in the first few pages of this book, I was hoping this might be the novel that proved to be "different" -- because while I've read high-quality self-published non-fiction and poetry, I've yet to read a self-published novel that is up to snuff. Instead, I always feel as if I'm reading fan-fiction ... which is fine, but I don't go for fan-fiction much these days.
This book, while not quite being an exception, wasn't horrible, either. In the book's defense, this isn't the kind of novel I'd usually pick up -- paranormal with Christian themes -- because I generally don't go for paranormal. And there were things the authors did right, such as practice the restraint many amateur authors lack in keeping the story focused on one point-of-view character rather than "head-hopping." Although grammatical and other errors weren't totally egregious, it was painfully obvious what the authors' and editor's grammatical "blind spots" were. The biggest storytelling shortcoming was the pacing -- the authors seemed compelled to cover every little detail rather than just cut to the chase. We don't need to know that a character unlocked her car door, put her keys in the ignition, turned on the radio, defrosted the windows, and pulled out of the parking lot to get a clear sense of "setting" in the story. These sorts of cumbersome details took up far more time than needed, while thematic questions remained unresolved or were only partially explained.
The book was very professionally designed and had some interesting ideas, although it felt more like a series of events than a cohesive whole. Perhaps most disappointing, since I read it for my book club, is that I don't feel it offers up a ton of food for thought. But perhaps the discussion will prove me wrong.