Bites

Published: March 19, 2017
Publisher: Self
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Nothing happens by chance. Nothing is as it seems.

The Gauntlet: Intersection point of surrounding four cities and a melting pot for four Houses in which arithmencers are divided according to how they can manipulate electromagnetism.

Damian knows little about the culture and the way of life in each city, until he turns out to be an arithmencer and is expected to join the House his father leads.

But when the emperor who has been ruling over the cities for two hundred years disappears, the delicate balance between the Houses begins to shift.

More and more, Damian finds power and responsibility thrust upon him for restoring equilibrium to a world falling apart. (goodreads.com)

So I’ll say a couple things up front about BREAKING DAMIAN. I DNFed this book on a technicality. More on that in a minute. Because I DNFed it I won’t be rating it. I don’t feel like I can accurately ascribe a rating to a book I haven’t finished. I also feel like I shouldn’t be reviewing this book at all. Part of my feels I shouldn’t because of the situation, but the other part of me feels that certain things need to be said about the book and the situation itself. Obviously I’ve leaned toward the latter.

On the surface BREAKING DAMIAN looks really put together. The cover is gorgeous, the blurb is compelling. This little package right here is the reason why I accepted it for review. When you open the book, however, it’s a big ol’ mess.

The world-building is less building and more pulling random elements out of a hat and mashing them together. Originally the world feels old, without any kind of modern technology, placed in a non-descript time in the past. The magic is kind of odd, sort of science-y, but not really. And then flying cars and ice cream and portal-jumping and tribes and holograms come into play and my head’s spinning. I can’t keep track of it and I can’t situate myself in the world because there’s so much going on and there’s absolutely no consistency to it.

The characters are blah. Very unspectacular and uninteresting. Damian finds himself with a new power every chapter and gets shunted from one end of the world to another as these things keep cropping up. I just rolled my eyes every time he was able to do something new with absolutely no context for what he was doing. There was no backstory to what was going on so every time something new was introduced, whether it was with the character or the world, it felt like it was out of nowhere. I couldn’t keep up with it.

And the author’s use of grammar was blatantly incorrect. Throughout everything that I’ve read. Forgive me if I don’t describe this correctly because I’m not this level of grammarian, but he nounded words that shouldn’t have been nouns. And he used combinations of words like “a quicksand.” A quicksand what? Pit? Box? Tupperware? I couldn’t help but think of:

And the use of commas instead of periods, especially when dialogue was involved. Annoyed the crap out of me.

Now I get to the DNF part. This book was really difficult for me to read for the reasons I’ve said above. It was a slog. I was not getting into it. Then I get an email from the author saying that based on some feedback he’d received he’s going to consider the copy of the book I had an ARC (it was not originally an ARC) and he’s going to rewrite it. He wanted to send me the rewritten book and get my feedback then and make it even better.

Few things with this.

  1. I was fuming. A week of my life wasted when I could have been reading something I wasn’t suffering through.
  2. Authors, make sure what you’re sending out to reviewers is the final copy of the book. If it’s truly an ARC, pitch it that way so reviewers can tailor their reviews accordingly. Even if it is an ARC, it shouldn’t be a hot mess.
  3. Never do something like this. Ever. If, by chance, you do decide to rewrite the book in the middle of your marketing campaign, don’t tell the people whom you’ve already sent the book. Personally, I would have preferred to not have known. I would have finished reading it, reviewed it, and moved on. If the author decided to issue an updated, edited version, great! I would have been none the wiser. But I am wiser. And it makes me angry.
  4. Book reviewers are not your beta readers or your editors. That’s not why I accepted your book for review. I’m not providing a critical assessment of it. I’m just reviewing it. We’re not here to make your writing better. We’re here to tell people about your book. Two different things.

To his credit the author was very apologetic about the situation and all. It could have been a lot worse. But I’m not really placated. I don’t feel a need to actually go to the author and berate him for it. I’m not cruel. I may not even post this on Goodreads. But it still bothers me enough that I need to talk about it. It’s just at this point in the year I’ve accepted only a handful of self pubs. Nothing has really been catching my eye. And then when I do I get this. There isn’t enough exposure, period, to balance this kind of behavior out so it appears more overwhelming than what it rightly is. But it’s aggravating nonetheless.

So who knows. The new version that he’ll be coming out with could rightly be fantastic. I hope he gets it professionally edited because BREAKING DAMIAN sorely needs it. But what I read wasn’t good and I really didn’t like having what I thought was a finished copy of a book turn into an ARC instantly. Not okay.

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