I am a writer or a sort myself, so I know how hard getting a book into print can be and I really hate to be mean to anyone's baby, but sometimes I still get a little put out when I am forced to read through a book that is not doing it for me. I should probably just stop reading such books, but as a reviewer, I like to try to finish what I start and perhaps it is good to let people know that I do not love every book I come across because I did give a lot of Five Star reviews this year.
That being said, I can not say I enjoyed The Eighth Succession, by Don Sakers very much. I have my own list of bad signs when I am reading a novel. If I start to daydream, try to read as fast as possible, want to quit the book, and/or can not wait for it to be over, the book is not doing it for me. This book had me doing all of these. The book was not horrible, I just felt like it was wasting my time when I could have been reading something I might have enjoyed.
First off, presence tense. Ugg. If you are an author and you think writing tense will make you unique, dazzle the reader, or please them, you are wrong. Personally I am seriously considering just not reading and reviewing any book I get set in the presence tense. That does not mean they will not be reviewed, I just will not be doing it. It might make sense if I was reading contemporary fiction, but why would a fantasy novel or a novel set in the future be in present tense. Maybe it is my problem, but if I do not like it, consider the possibility that I might not be the only one.
As to the novel itself, it centers around groups of quintuplets that all possess very powerful mental abilities. These youth live in the far future where humans have colonized multiple worlds. Okay, I could be ignorant or perhaps lazy, but having groups of kids whose names all start with the same letter just makes things confusing and character development, at least in my head, next to impossible. One girl is Yowanda another Yolanda. One youth is Reena another Rashen. They all communicate telepathically and I just stop caring who said what because it is too confusing. Note to authors. Everything makes sense to us because it is our baby, but keep in mind the reader is only living in your world for a few minutes a day. Confusing us just makes us irritable and less likely to want to read anything else you put out.
Anyone who has read my reviews knows I get a little burned out reading YA novels. This took it to a new level by focusing most of the novel on a five year old girl. Again, perhaps the author thinks he is breaking new ground and being innovative, but I just find it boring. I do not really want to follow the adventures of a five year old. Sorry, I just do not.
The book also claims to be LGBTQ friendly. Good. Cool. But does that have to include an old man having sex with a boy just out of his teens. And then he takes the kid in bed with his wife. Um... eww. The future is so sexual free or is it just gross. I do not care what gender has sex with whoever. I do not really like the idea of an older couple in power taking advantage of a young boy.
So I guess I have discussed the downsides, but let me add some more. The book is only 160 pages, but that also includes several blank filler pages as well as several pages where the author pulls us out of the story to review lists of things and give updates on this world. If I cared about the world, that might be okay, but it seems like the author is just shining his own apple. With these blanks pages and cut aways, the novel is barely a 100 pages. I just do not need to know the ancestry of side characters in a 100 page novel. It makes no sense and just seems like unneeded self absorbed fluff to try to stretch a novella into a book. If you are going to publish a book, just write a whole book please.
Upsides... some of the characters abilities are cool and these powerful kids can use their powers in manners not many other authors have explored. Some of the ideas are sound too. The author has an idea for an epic sweeping series, but this might have made a better short story.
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