Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Abuse of Power by Michael Savage

If the others knew what Abdal al-Fida was up to they would kill him.

This is not a bad opening sentence, except it's missing a comma - which is distracting. If a sentence begins with a subordinate clause, it needs a comma after said subordinate clause. This doesn't, and it ruins everything. I am like so totally disturbed right now.

The rest of the first paragraph:

Not fast, not pleasantly, and not just to make him suffer. These people killed the way others tweeted, to let people know they weren't happy. To discourage dissent.

I think the comma that should be in the first sentence slipped a couple lines. That's what happens when you don't nail down punctuation; it has a tendency to wander. I like the third sentence: ...killed the way others tweeted.... It's witty and distinctly communicates the kind of people Abdal is up against.

Chapter 1:

"Pump two," Leon said. "See it?"
"I see it," Jamal Thomas replied.

Then we get a sunset, and uh-oh, they're in a car.

It was just after sunset... Jamel squinted through the dirty windshield...

But at least there is no back story dump. The forward narrative plods forward despite the odds of beginning with dialogue by persons unknown, just after sunset and in a car. By page 2 we're introduced to the novel's Glock. I think I will start documenting in labels how many novels open with a Glock. They make me laugh; they remind me of something else.

This gets a 50-50 despite the missing-in-action comma. The prologue begins, as usual, more interestingly than chapter 1. The prologue here pumps up your attention only for chapter 1 to deflate it. But what can you do? That is the way with prologues.

Verdict: Pass (barely)

Theodore Moracht

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