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Posted September 14, 2010
Hired new editors yet?
Sadly, I failed to read the excerpt before wasting my money. Maybe it wouldn't have helped.
I'm 52 years old and have read fantasy fiction since high school, and this has to be some of the worst writing that I have ever read in a published novel. I have read reasonably written novels with poorly realized story lines, but this novel simply has some of the worst grammar and style that I have ever run across. The underlying story could be great, but I'll never know.
Ms. Gilman and an English grammar class have never crossed paths; and, no, she did not break the rules for effect or style. If she had, it would have shown finesse. Instead, her writing displayed a hodgepodge of nearly random marks of punctuation scattered through her paragraphs.
The number one rule of grammar for writers is that you must first know the rules before purposely, for effect or style, breaking them. Her persistent breaking of rules became a perpetual distraction. I had no chance of getting involved in the story because I was constantly yanked out of it with some god-awful sentence construction or dialogue.
To make matters worse, she seemed desperate to sound cutesy with her style, from atrocious dialogue to the renaming of common character types with descriptors such as 'wizarts' and other such nonsense. She just made herself sound idiotic -- to an adult reader, at least. I couldn't make up my mind as to whether Ms. Gilman was a 15-year-old trying to sound like an adult, but having no clue how they speak, or if she was an adult gearing the novel for the 10-and-under crowd?
Neither option sounds likely. So....
Ms. Gilman has published quite a few other works, so maybe this is just a single instance of bad writing, and her other novels are better. But that shouldn't let the editors off the hook. (And, yes, I purposely started sentences with conjunctions, to let you know that I am not a purist.) Her editors should be fired if they consider this novel's writing quality worthy of publication.
Maybe I would have enjoyed the overall story if I could have survived the writing, but it was so distracting that I couldn't stand forcing myself beyond the first four chapters.
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Posted December 28, 2010
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