Friday, 11 July 2014
You Don't Want to Know by Lisa Jackson
...and it creeps in with weather as the dreams starts like this:
It's a foggy, gray day...
Seriously? Who actually dreams about weather? Or remembers the weather in their dreams? Or cares? Anyway, this is the nappy beginning of what must be a nappy prologue so we will stop here. Not hooked by a dream of foggy weather, and like a dream, this opening is vague and in parts one of those: ...it was like this, but not really... type of descriptions.
This author has one chance to hook me and she failed. Dream openings are perhaps the oldest cliche and the most obvious sign of an amateur, regardless if they've been published or not. Since this is a prologue, we can skip it for now and see if chapter 1 has a hook in the opening.
"I'm serious, you can't tell a soul," a breathy voice whispered.
Is that a comma splice? I'm serious and you can't tell a soul, are independent clauses so should be joined with a semicolon instead of a comma. The other thing that's weird about this line is the breathy voice. Is this opposed to a non-breathy voice? Lungs breath, the mouth and nose breath but a voice can't breath. Sound can't breath. If this is figurative and not to be taken literally then what is the image the author wishes to convey? A windy voice?
What this most likely means is that the person is breathing when speaking, as in heavy breather/creepy pervert, yet this voice is whispering. I'm of the camp that a person whispers not a voice, but if one wants to say a voice is the character, in order to create suspense and avoid the pronoun, well, whatever.
This gets the bed setting award when we learn that Ava is in bed and listening to characters talking, nicknamed Breathy Voice and Second Voice. It's silly when one stops and thinks about how this story is told.
The wording and structure is meant to create a scene with tension with a secret about Ava, but with sentences like those below, it doesn't come off as intense or mysterious at all, but more as an overwritten absurd prose assignment by a bored grade 10 student.
Inhaling a deep breath, she blinked.
Ava felt a jab of betrayal.
More whispering... [This so-called line reads like grade 5 material.]
The short of it is that Breathy Voice and Second Voice are talking about Ava in bits and pieces and this is supposed to make the reader curious and want to read on, as not all the information is provided to understand what this is about. Obviously, this will work for some, but I don't appreciate having my time wasted with melodramatic openings that belong in a horrid novel that Jan Austen would giggle over. In the final analysis, I really don't want to know.
Prediction: This author will not be read after her death as there will be other crap being published by her successors. In hundreds of years she'll be as well known as Bulwer-Lytton's editor. This type of work will be a mere footnote in the decline of Western civilization. That will be the legacy of such work, and there is plenty of it clogging up the bookshelves.
Verdict: Boring Fail