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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Youthful Dystopia


A.G. Chambers is a young author resident in New Zealand and her first novel Jaded Rein is a cross-genre piece which for convenience I have labelled dystopian fantasy. You have come this far you might as well read my review.
    THIS debut novel deserves four or five stars for originality and imagination. It receives but one or two for typos, clich├ęs and some poor construction. We thus end up with an average of three stars.
I promise this review will concentrate on the considerable positives but I will begin with the negatives which this young writer can improve on.
     The bad formatting and editing may come from a lack of money. Professional editing is always going to cost a lot and in most cases will not be recouped. Good formatting of an ebook is relatively inexpensive and is a matter of finding the right person.
     Construction comes from experience which tells an author pages of continual dialogue is just plain wrong.
     The most disappointing problem is the author pressed the Go-button without re-reads and rewrites to remove wrong words. Many of these are homonyms, not picked up by spell check. Wait instead of weight was one of the most annoying. Fixing most of these errors cost only the author’s time.
     Also engaging beta readers or friends for a bit of advice would seem a good idea. I am no expert on the conventions of dystopian fantasy which I presume is the genre. But I would have thought the book should have 36 or so chapters, rather than 12.
     Enough of that.
     A.G. Chambers had invented two great literary conventions. The first is of doppelganger assassins (DPs) which are mostly physical doubles of members of this young team engaged in murder for hire, but only of bad people.
     Each DP has a clever name and one enhanced ability. Perhaps the most valuable is the healer as she tends miraculously to assorted pulverised bones, knife and gunshot wounds which go with the trade of assassination. The Orb DP is invisible.
     The second invention is even better. Team leader Jade has a Fettle DP which senses people’s emotions which are transmitted through the scents of fruit, vegetables and herbs. I won’t tell what scents represent what emotions because a lot of fun is had by learning this and seeing if you can remember the associations.
     These positives herald a good future for Ms Chambers in literature.
     I should probably mention the sex scenes. I think there are three of four and they are all reasonably well done except for the honey and caramel skins and  the more modern cliche, courtesy of the gym and television home shopping, of the six-pack abs.
     Whether you buy this book could boil down to whether you are willing to spend a few dollars to encourage a promising author though you know you will have to endure typos and poor formatting.
     I am looking forward to the sequel to hopefully see improvement and to take in the smells of emotions during aroma-assassination.
     I will add that I was given a review copy of the book though I think it is obvious I have attempted a fair review. Buy Jaded Youth HERE

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