When is a good book not a good book? When there are so many writing errors that readers are constantly removed from their immersion in the action.
Miss Shreffler’s writing is very smooth with a reasonable number of grammar and punctuation errors, but still shows a great need for good editing.
At first glance, this should be a four- or five-star book. The story line is good. The main character is empathetic (although a spoiled twit at the start, but that’s the point) and develops realistically through the story. There is plenty of action, great suspense, and good management of conflict. Many youngsters without a great deal of reading experience may consider it a good read.
The whole book is full of errors that should have been picked up by a good editor:
- She hides in the back of a broom closet, but somehow can still see out to scan the hallway.
- “The man pressed against the horse and the beast leapt into a gallop.” How do you “press against a horse” to make it go?
- 3. One moment her father’s estate is going to be broken up and given to distant relatives, but a few pages later his younger brother shows up and takes over.
- Her father was killed by a weapon from the side, but she saw the assassin on the roof.
- One man is described as lean and wiry, but later he has a broad back. In fact, all the men are dark and wiry, with broad backs. I found the two supporting characters, Crash (now, there’s a medieval name) and Dorian, undistinguishable from each other in their attitudes, their actions and their speech. Except for Dorian’s wolf ears, of course.
It is not my intent to drive this book into the ground with examples of bad writing, only to give enough to demonstrate that it is a serious problem that could have and should have been solved before publication.
And last, the book is missing the atmospheric “voice” of the sword-and-sorcery genre. It is full of expressions like, “let’s cut out” and “gross.” I know that for many young people the 1950s and 60s seem like a long time ago, but not exactly medieval, please. In the opening scene, the heroine performs a ritual dance in boots with 6-inch heels. This is an image lifted from a Playboy porn flick. What we end up with is a medieval fantasy with the voice of a modern paranormal work.
So, while this young writer shows great promise, she has a standard Indie Writer flaw of having done a whole lot of writing without anyone coaching her on her mistakes so that she can correct them. I suspect she writes quickly and intuitively, without going back and looking at the work later to see what it actually communicates to the reader.
I must rate the book by its overall merit, and urge the author to get the appropriate assistance that all writers need to hone their craft.