Monday, 21 October 2013

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant

August 11, 1492

Dawn is a pale bruise rising in the night sky when, from inside the palace, a window is flung open and a face appears, its features distorted by the firelight thrown up from the torches beneath.

Some figurative language begins this novel. I have nothing against this (after all, I've been to university) as long as it contains the kernel of a story and is not obtrusively verbose. This sentence establishes mood, tone, some style and yet manages to set an unspecified event in motion. It doesn't really hook per say, but it's better than most of the first lines dying slow deaths in bookstores.

First thing said:


Which is the second paragraph and in all caps - obviously meant to convey what, shouting? I'm thinking: wait a teenager wrote this? I google the author's name and frown. So, what's with the all caps? IF THIS WAS A YOUTUBE COMMENT, THE AUTHOR'D GET FLAMED!!!!!!!!!!!! [Extra exclamation marks (for clarity) are mine.]

Paragraph three begins with some bitter sweaty words:

Inside, the air is sour with the sweat of old flesh. Rome in August is a city of swelter and death.

No conflict (After all, the dead have no problem being dead) and no character, only setting, but I've got nothing better to do for the next couple of minutes while I wait to pass that TV dinner with 5 grams of trans fat, so I read on.

So, to sum up, congratulations:

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Rudy Globird

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