Our critics, all suffering from extremely short attention spans, open random books in the library or bookstore and review the first line, paragraph and page (if it's really good). If we find we can't put it down, we might just review the whole first chapter. When we stumble upon a wonderful beginning, we read to the end to see if good writing really does go all the way.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
Last night I had the dream again.
Thus begins a prologue, though it is
not identified as such.
The line that follows:
Except it was not a dream.
Um, okay, so what is the first line about then? Juxtaposition?
Chapter one "proper" entitled Uncreated Night begins with the line:
The rows of faces.
What a way to begin - with a fragment.
Why Mr. Writer needs a full stop after faces, is beyond the confines of reason...or is it? Anyway, is there conflict? No. What about characterization? No. Setting? No. Plugging a Pink
Floyd video? Hmm. So what does he do next? Why, he gives us another
Younger and younger each term.
What is younger? The rows? The faces? Ah, no, seriously, I understand; it's all starting to make sense. No
sense in reading further, though I did read another page before stopping. There's a lecture about Milton's Paradise Lost. I laughed out loud when the poor suffering professor melodramatically tightens his hold on his daughter's imagined hand, a hackneyed attempt to solicit sympathy. But it's too soon for any reader to turn on the waterworks. Come on, how can any reader feel sorry for this as yet one-dimensional stranger? He comes off as a pathetic, self-centered introvert. I wanted to slap him.
I try to be fair, but enough of me; I'm not a laptop