Ascent by Amy Kinzer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Had this been given to a good editor as a manuscript, it might have been considerably better. There were a ton of typos and grammatical errors that an editor would have corrected, and that seriously detracted from the reading. The characters all read the same, even using the exact same descriptions (sometimes the exact same phrases!) to describe certain things. There was no depth to them at all. In fact, if I didn't read the character's name whose POV marks each chapter, I was never able to tell whose head I was in until they started whining about their particular trauma.
The entire thing was so repetitive I just started skimming at about the 35% mark. So many of those chapters could have been cut completely because they added nothing to the story except more of the same whining and reinforcing --yet again-- why they joined the Party.
This book had an over-inflated sense of its own specialness as a story. It is not worth spreading out over multiple books. If Ascent had been tightened into four well-written, cohesive chapters with good pacing, it would have been a fantastic lead-in for the real story. Instead, it was boring and juvenile.
I won't be reading the sequel.
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The above review is what I submitted to Goodreads. I think I'll start posting my book reviews as another part of this blog. Sometimes it's good to see what's out there. Sometimes I regret even looking.
As a writer, one of the reasons I'm supposed to be reading new material is to see what's out there, what's trending, and use what's available to help improve my own writing. What really pisses me off is that most of what's out there now is absolute drivel and does nothing but threaten to give me an overinflated sense of my own talent.
Great. Now I'll have to read Loretta Chase or Herman Melville to remind me of my place.
It reminds me a lot of those poor people on American Idol who absolutely suck, but none of their family or friends had the decency to tell them they sucked before they could humiliate themselves on national television. That's what so many of these new (mainly self-pubbed via Amazon) authors remind me of, and it irritates me. No evidence of an editor in sight, no real grasp of the English language, and storytelling which faceplants across broken glass and rusty scrap metal.
If you're going to write, at the very least have a firm grasp of the rules of the language in which you are writing. And if you don't, then why the hell are you writing? Seriously? Okay, not everyone can sound like Chaucer. At least have basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation under your belt. The rest, trust to an experienced editor who knows the language better than you do and has a proven track record. Join a critique group with a reputation for possessing actual critical thinking skills. Put on your big author panties and don't get so butt-hurt when people don't gush over your crappy structure and logistic nightmares.
Writing like I found in Ascent pisses me off because it has now become an example of acceptable standards when, instead, the author either didn't care about the work needed to produce a good book with quality writing, or didn't want to do it. Either way, she does not deserve to have this book out. It's an example of another wannabe rushing towards the dream without earning it.
The rest of us work our asses off, and it shows.