Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weaver by John Ambrowitz: Review

By John Ambrowitz
Published August 9th 2011
Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads:

Fifteen-year old Alex Cronlord just met the boy of her dreams. Literally. Unfortunately, the dream involved him killing her. When she encounters him at her school the next morning, Alex understandably freaks out – and her mother’s bizarre behavior only makes it worse. What Alex doesn’t realize is that she can see the future – which will get her into a whole lot of trouble.

Across town, FBI Agent Moira McBain and her partner Andy Hall investigate a series of house burnings in Dallas, Texas. When a clue leads them to the Cronlords, Moira discovers a disturbing link between Alex’s family and her own – which opens an old wound Moira has spent years trying to ignore.

Something is rotten in Dallas, Texas – something involving a secret society, children with extraordinary powers, and human-looking creatures who might literally be out of this world ….

Welcome to a different kind of world-wide web.

Darkfallen's thoughts:

What to say about Weaver?

Well first let me start with the good points shall we?

I love the villain aspect to this story. It's mostly original...OK maybe it is a slightly twisted take off vampires, but it's NOT vampires which earns some bonus points right there. They are called Xorda, which for some reason kept reminding me of Star Trek. (yes I am aware that I have never watched Star Trek and thus have no reason for such analogies...but still it did.) Anyways the Xorda sucked the souls out of people to survive, not their blood. In the end the outcome is the same though...death. But that is not the only villain of this story which was another plus I think. You see the humans that spend their life fighting a war against these Xorda's are called members of the Wells Society, but the things they do to their children without them knowing so that they can use them to kill these creatures is down right awful. I mean we are talking lab rats might be treated better awful.

So why only 2 stars you ask? OK here is the deal. First I want to start by saying that up until now I have been lucky enough that an author himself has never asked me to review their book and then I ended up not liking it. What I mean is that when an author has personally contacted me, asking me to review their book, I have been lucky enough to have always enjoyed it. So when this wasn't falling into that category I am finding myself feeling sad, and guilty at having to give such a low rating. But the truth is that as a reviewer I have a responsibility not to the author, but to the readers to give an honest review. And so here it is.

Alex is one of the main characters and I think that I could have really liked her but so much stuff just kept getting in the way. Stuff like really giant words thrown around when you least expect it, causing the flow to just sorta fall flat. I kept finding myself rereading sentences thinking "There is no way this 15 year old girl would use this word? In fact I am pretty sure she doesn't even know what it means, because really? Neither do I. Now for those of you that don't me I assure you my lack of knowledge for the choice of vocabulary had little to do with my education. Even I am guilty of using words at time that make other people look at me like I am going right over their head, because I am a fan of the big words from time to time; however these words weren't your run of the mill college level vocabulary. In fact it felt more like that game you used to play with your high school English teacher when you grab a thesaurus and try to throw all kinds of big words in there just to see if she was as smart as she thought you were. In the end all your left with is a story that is broken up by words that feel foreign and out of place. If this was an adult level novel then maybe I could have bypassed this, but it's not. It's targeted towards YA and there is no way a teenager is going to sit there with a dictionary to read a book that isn't required for school.

Would I rate this book higher if those words were replace with something more appropriate?
Yes absolutely! That alone would bump this up to 3 stars.

Then there is the problem with things like stating the obvious. While on one hand the vocab is a little too brainy and we are expected the readers to know what those words mean; we are over explaining things...a LOT. Things like She kicked him using her foot. Ummmmm OK. Well I certainly hope she didn't kick him using her arm because that would be one serious deformity. Also there was the overuse of the same common world to close together. Here is an example of what I am talking about, however this is not an exact quote from the book: She saw the tree up ahead. Gasping for air, she ran towards the tree. Again this is stuff that, when it happens, it pulls the reader out of the story, and leaves them feeling detached.

Overall I think this book has a really good premise, and the ability to be brilliant if in the hands of the right editor. I firmly believe an editor would have caught all of the things I mentioned above, and would have left this book with so much more depth because of it. I really wanted to love this book, and I really thought I would so it really pains me to say this, but I think this book needs a few more good edits before it's ready. Hopefully by book two we will see some real improvement.   


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