Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 19, 2018 Under: Book Reviews
This book is a long, yet surprisingly easy to read first instalment, to what looks like a very promising YA saga. I have to admit, I gulped when I saw the word count – almost 150,000! – yet, those words flew by pretty quickly. Jacinta has a very appealing writing style, which draws you in and does not tax the brain a great deal; her characters seem likeable enough, and there are some promising elements. However, it is ultimately a tad disappointing, a fact probably compounded by its length.
This book’s only real intention seems to be to set up the scene for its sequel – it does demand a big time investment, on the part of the reader, which, in turn, ensures a frustrating experience. The concept is great, and the promise of more to come from the Faction, the Lost Ones and the purpose of the characters’ intensive Resistance training is engaging, but it would have been nice to see these elements come together in this instalment, in a stand-alone story, and it is frustrating that this doesn’t happen. I do think it is too long for a book which does not reward the reader with stand-alone pay-offs – perhaps if you are to write an epic of this scale, it is worth simply biting the bullet and publishing that 1500-page odyssey in a single volume. Or, alternatively, I wonder if this book might have simply lost a good 30-40,000 words, and been the more palatable for it.
What is not told, in this book, is perhaps more conspicuous than what is. It is very wordy, and features a great amount of detail; unfortunately, not enough of this detail is invested in vivid description, and you need a lot of imagination to envisage the scenes and characters. I don’t think anywhere near enough is explained about the mysterious Faction, and why it is so imperative to defeat them – the villain’s entity is not developed at all, and the relevance of the primary antagonist is only implied, and not told in any way. This means the primary storyline is not clear, and you find yourself in a situation similar to having missed the start of a movie, and then trying to invest in its importance.
Still, Jacinta is a worthy writer, who knows how to craft and time a book – her ability and perseverance to create such an epic is admirable, and she deserves a huge amount of respect for having done so; one would assume an equal amount of hard graft and effort will be afforded on its sequels. She is articulate, with choice phrasing at times, and presents some exciting, alluring set-pieces; I do feel, perhaps, she could do with a more comprehensive vocabulary, as some of her language may seem a touch simplistic for an older audience. But, given enough time and words, I suspect Jacinta will show herself to be telling a creative and accomplished story, and full marks to her for her ability to engage over a long piece of writing.
The book is well presented and formatted; however, I do take huge issue with its proofreading. The version I was sent was full of grammatical errors, and its punctuation was often so sparse as to render much of the text confusing – I did have to reread sentences throughout the book’s entirety, imagining commas in order to understand them. The lack of polish given to this book’s language is only aggravated by its large price tag – almost £15 on Amazon, at the time of writing this.
Still, other than this technical aspect, I do feel that Jacinta has produced a high quality project, and deserves respect for clearly putting her heart and soul into it. You do hope that such hard work is rewarded, and that she consistently maintains this quality into her – I am sure, very promising – future.
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