Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton

When the phone rang, Ava woke with a start.

Sigh. Once again we are confronted with a two-cliche hit: bed setting and phone call. One more character in the volumes pop cliche culture waking up to receive a phone call that the novel is starting, and it's all happening right at the perfectly placed cliche hour: 3 AM.

First thing said:

"Wei, Ava Lee."

Foreign dialogue is weak. It's used not because English readers understand what is being said, but because someone thinks that it creates mood and helps to establish setting. It doesn't, it only establishes lazy writing.

On the plus side the scene on page 1 starts to move with dialogue although it's mostly superfluous chit-chat, with no plot point revealed. However, the characters do reveal themselves and a bit about their past. Then one of the characters apologizes for being vague,which is thoughtful. Chapter 1 ends with a promise that at some point, perhaps in chapter 2, a hook will emerge.

This opening is so boring that I can't even muster the energy to shame this. Perhaps it would have been better if Rudy had reviewed this opening instead of me.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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