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A Few I Couldn’t Finish…

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Oscar Wilde
Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)

After discussing my dilemma the other day, I have elected to go ahead and post about three books I recently tried to read but couldn’t finish. Two are self-published and one is from a very small press.


Wrath of Zar by Shayne Easson

While this fantasy novel by first-time author Shayne Easson did some things well, I felt it struggled with the basics and caused me to lose interest in it. The action sequences were very difficult to follow, with little information about where characters were at or who was fighting who. But what really made the book hard to read was the dialog. I had no idea what tone of voice people were using or emotions they felt while speaking. I couldn’t tell if people were pissed off or joking or what. This is ultimately what made me give it up. The good news is the book doesn’t have much in the way of stereotypical characters and from what I read they did seem to be changing throughout the book. I might have had an early review copy (it was not labeled as such), but the book contained many typographical errors that even included misspelling the main characters name on one occasion. I wonder if Mr. Easson had an editor? It is possible that others might find this book works for them (Harriet Klausner liked it!), but I recommend you read an excerpt or two in the store before taking it home.

The New Mars by John L. Manning Jr

The New Mars: A Family Vacation by John L. Manning Jr

I couldn’t make any progress into either of these two books. Let me give you an example of the style – this is taken straight off the back of A Family Vacation

The kids want to play at the park all day but they find that there are other fun things to do on Mars. Next to their hotel there is a Skating Rink with a half pipe, they see a show there and the next day they go to skate. They find other things in Tent A like a bar that has an opened mike night every Thursday night. They find fun things to do in the other Tents also.

Note, SIC in that paragraph – you can see it exactly as I’ve typed it if you follow the link to Amazon. The text is so simple I thought perhaps it was some sort of style where the extremely simple form and pedestrian descriptions were a veneer that hid a deeper level. I kept expecting to find the family being killed off or taken over by aliens or something sinister happening that would be told in that child-like style. If that happened, I never found it. It’s too bad really – that might have made the books fascinating. In reading the two, the first explains Mars rather dryly, where the second attempts to do so in the context of a family on vacation – but both largely describe the same things. I can’t really see too many people enjoying these books, but who knows? Maybe these are actually childrens books and I just missed that?

1 Comment on A Few I Couldn’t Finish…

  1. I don’t want to be a grammar nazi, but my opinion is that if one is reviewing books, one must have a near flawness understanding of English grammar.

    “The action sequences were very difficult to follow, with little information about where characters were at or who was fighting who.”

    contains two mistakes, which I have corrected below.

    “The action sequences were very difficult to follow, with little information about where characters were or who was fighting whom.”

    Sorry, but this bugs me. By the way, I love your website.

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