Tripping Over Twilight – T.W. Grimm

Tripping Over Twilight – T.W. Grimm

Tripping Over TwilightAmazon Link: Tripping Over Twilight.

4 ephemerally mangled appendages out of 5

Reading time: 5 hr., 30 min.

 Blurb:

Remember to always take care when stepping out into the twilight. The transition from light to dark can be treacherous. People have been known to stumble and fall.

T.W. Grim invites you to pull up a chair and watch the sun slip pass the horizon with this dark and macabre collection of short stories. Tripping Over Twilight offers a disquieting look at what happens to familiar places after the comforting light of day has been extinguished by the creeping shroud of night fall. Turn down the lights, get comfortable… and prepare to lose some sleep.

Notecard Review:

This is a distinctly Lovecraftian horror anthology, carefully curated to tell a story in the pattern of its stories. Its style is visceral, agonizingly so, and it pulls off grizzly horror better than anything I’ve read in years. Its only major failings are a shallow lack of meaning and a visible lack of proofreading, the former representing a disquieting missed opportunity and the latter an insignificant but nonetheless omnipresent distraction.

Full Review: 

This text is, as mentioned, a contestant to the legacy of Lovecraft. This description, however accurate, nonetheless fails to capture the entirety of it, its nearly profound use of crudity and graphic, brutal violence overwhelming the boundaries of Lovecraftian subtlety in a fashion that works wonders in ways it has no right to. The prose style is unapologetic, seeking no quarter from the soulless, blindly pretentious arthouse literature crowd that so deftly dodges around comprehension of the nature of art and literature as to veritably demand books like this to mock its failings.

That is not to say, however, that the book entirely overwhelms any objection such a benighted soul might have. Its unflappable resistance to artistic pretention does it credit, but the lack of any artistic substance behind the curtain, the lack of any message or meaning rising above the (admittedly considerable) entertainment value, most certainly undermines it to a very real degree. Of course, there’s little argument that could be made for the idea that every book must have deeper meaning, but there are very few which would not be served by some deeper hook into the intellectual psyche, if only for the inherent increase to their emotional impact. This is a prime example of such a missed opportunity. Combined with the veritable slew of typographical errors, this edges it out of the 5-star category with a wetly depressing thud.

The character development is very nearly preternatural given the length of the stories, truly human souls gazing haplessly out from the page as if desperate to achieve traction in the reader’s mind in order to escape their situation. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it unparalleled, but it certainly rises leagues above the norm and gives tremendous artistic credibility to what might otherwise be seen as a penny-dreadful-style gorefest.

The pacing is sufficient, hardly groundbreaking and bringing nothing in particular to the proceedings, but nonetheless it does what needs to be done and keeps its head down. At no point did I find myself feeling rushed or bored, merely moving steadily and effectively from point A to point Z and all points in between.

Most of all, though, the success of an anthology hangs not on the value of the individual stories, however brilliant, but on the summation of the text, the bringing together of elements to form a cohesive emotional journey, and this is where the book truly shines. There is an unshakable but indistinct and ephemeral story being told here, a descent from casual mortal conflict to inherent insanity that creeps up to slaughter you word by word.

All in all, this is an excellent book. It won’t change your life, it won’t realign your perceptions, but it will absolutely enthrall you and give the sort of stomach-tightening, painful fascination that true horror fans live for and for which T.W. Grim is rightly known. This is a book that you simply can’t escape.

The Titan Drowns – Nhys Glover

The Titan Drowns – Nhys Glover

Title: The titan Drowns

Author Nhys Glover

Point at Which I Would’ve Quit Had I Not Been Reviewing It: 18%

True Love Conquers All (Except Shipwrecks) Rating: 3

Notecard Review:

Titan Sinks is the most up-and-down book I’ve read this year. It starts bad, gets good, goes back to bad, climbs almost back to good, and then crashes precipitously down into a cloying sea of melted candy hearts so chalky even the most dedicated romantic can’t appreciate them.

 

 

Full Review

Titan Sinks is, at its heart, a string of love stories. Obscuring that fundamental purpose is a veneer of science fiction and a plot so thin it was politely asked to leave a meeting of an anorexics support group. In itself, there’s nothing wrong with that. Love is one of the great factors of the human condition, and illuminating it is one of literature’s Great Tasks.

 

The problem is that they’re all love at first sight. Every single one in the book, and every single one they refer to as having happened off-page. They try to explain this with a convoluted plot maze about clones, but that serves only to briefly obscure the reality that love at first sight is a good device because it makes a romance feel vital and unique – if everything is unique in the same way, nothing is unique.

 

The auteur methodology which makes the prose stand so tall carries with it the individualist humanity that damns a book when the creator leaves something to be desired, and this creator’s view of love is so romanticized that it becomes implausible. If the book were just the tiniest bit heavier I would say that they were making an artistic statement about the ephemeral, almost illusory power of love over the romantic mind, but as it stands I’m left with the undeniable impression that the author is just in love with love.

 

The history seemed solid, but it’s not my period of expertise so that statement should probably more accurately read, “I didn’t notice any historical mistakes,” if that weren’t so unprofessionally an ‘I statement.’ The atmosphere did a reasonable job of bringing me into the world, and the class distinctions were made clear enough that the message came through before it was explicitly explained for any unusually (but not transcendently) smart monkeys that might have missed it in their read-through.

 

The characters were more or less believable, though the desire to distinguish them leads to some belaboring of what might be considered the ‘tag characteristics,’ the things the author no doubt put at the top of her character sheet in red so that she wouldn’t forget to beat us about the face and crotch with it. The time travel mechanics were addressed in a brief but amusing and interesting fashion, and with only a few minor hand-waves it managed to avoid the pitfalls of time travel as a genre, largely by not having any serious plot pinches whatsoever. Of course, that’s a slippery slope – you could easily avoid all these problems by just not writing a book at all and focusing on your pinot gris and Lifetime movies.

 

At a linguistic level, the book shines above its plot deficiencies. There’s a lilting innocence to the text that’s been polished to mirror sheen. There are very few copy-editing issues, a shining gold star in the remedial swamp of the indie market, and they don’t detract significantly. Stylistic choices are made with an auteur’s courage, and while the hand of an editor can be felt, it’s clear that they were servant rather than master.

 

In the end, the book is enjoyable and potentially worth a read, but the bottom line is that plot devicing to try and explain away something you wanted to do too badly to omit is the literary equivalent of the shameful wait-an-hour-then-you-come-out time juggling you use to convince people you’re not fucking your time-traveling technomage secretary while your wife is at the Atlantean post-VR veggie brunch.

Rebel Yell – Garrett Robinson

Rebel Yell – Garrett Robinson

Author: Garrett Robinson.

Title: Rebel Yell

Amazon Link: Rebel Yell

Rating: 4 cornflake-pissing wrenches out of 5.

THE INDUSTRY IS DEAD

The struggle to be heard in a world that’s all noise


“It’s no way to make a living.” Every artist has heard it at one point or another, when their dreams seem impossible and friends tell them an artistic career is hopeless.

It’s something Steve Caverly could never afford to believe. All his life he’s dreamed of fronting the rock band Rebel Yell, playing sold-out shows to the adoring masses.

Then comes producer Lenny Bergner from Monument Records with an offer: he’ll sign Steve and the band if Steve will ghostwrite an album for Hunger Strike, the biggest band in the world. But he’ll have to work with enigmatic lead singer Hayley Savage — and she is notoriously fickle when it comes to other artists.

Steve soon finds Hayley’s drugged-out, eccentric lifestyle is more than he can handle. Soon he begins to question everything about himself, his music, and whether success is worth the price he’s agreed to pay.

This is the story of one band’s struggle to survive when art belongs to the dollar. Sometimes witty, always heartless, Rebel Yell is a piercing look at independent art in the post-modern age.    

                                                                                

 

 

Notecard Review: 

This is a book that has a real spark to it. The characters are human and interesting, and it rises above the crowd (and above this writer’s other works). That being said, its use of language is standard-issue and it’s constantly getting in its own way, awkwardly fumbling for meaning like a drunken teenager’s first time in a dark closet. It wants to be art, and it gets close, but it doesn’t quite make it.

No fatal flaws, maybe even worth a look, but it could have been so much more.

 

Full Review:

This book, some of you may already have noted, is by an author whose previous work, Zombie Something Or Other, I have called, and I’m quoting this from memory, “skilled but soulless, a kind of miraculously polished dullness that verged on prodigal in its meaningless mundanity.” I’m painfully articulate on Twitter, you see, but it’s crucial to recognize that I distinguish wholly between a characterization of an author and a characterization of a book. In this case, I was (so very characteristically) wise to choose the latter, since Rebel Yell is actually rather good.

It’s not nearly as smart as it thinks it is, and whatever it seems to be trying to say is straying between garbled and misapplied, but there is a distinctive soul, a deepness of characters that lets it function as a character study despite wisely and shockingly declining to fit itself into the <blank>–driven mindset that the commercial writer lives and breathes. The problem with this is, of course, that a heavily character-oriented text with no driving force risks just becoming a river of sludge and slog, and this is very much in the stinking estuary of that swamp, not quite to the literary-fiction quicksand of excessive self-love but ever-so-very-very-close.

Its real problem is that it abjectly refuses to get out of its own way, a constant stop-and-start mantra that ensures no one gets too engaged, lest they begin to enjoy themselves above and beyond the regulation quantity of pleasure, or God forbid begin to actually experience something above and beyond the immediate.  Naturally one must assume that, however visibly apparent it may seem, this is not an intentional choice to hurt us, but one must always leave open the possibility that everyone hates us and wants us to suffer or that Mr. Robinson is the agent of some malignant unknown, some primordial evil whose petty revenge against a race which has outstripped it in every way is simply to periodically piss in our cornflakes just to keep us on our toes. You know, so that we can stay optimistic.

Which is to say, the tone had a horrible, unforgiveable habit of jarringly shifting at the worst possible moments, and I could count no fewer than 20 times where I really started to get into the book only to be wrenched back to the meaningless yuppie inanity books are meant to pull me out of in the first place. For every moment where the text begins to play to its strengths, dodge its weaknesses, and get into a groove, there is an immediately successive moment of jarringly unexpected scene breaks and massive accompanying changes in tone, topic, voice, and impact to something that not only should not be where it is, but really shouldn’t exist at all. I’m put in mind of one of those films that achieves the sense of disorientation by having a character wander around a house that keeps shifting and changing to bar his movement and throw him off balance. Only difference being, instead of becoming progressively more terrified, I became progressively less interested in the characters and their adventures in the indie music funhouse of horrors.

The pacing is solid and tight, meandering at times but in a very purposeful, intentional fashion that manages to more or less work. That is to say, it’s doing something that wouldn’t normally be put in the Big Book of Good Ideas, but it manages to pull it off quite well, which has a certain value in and of itself, sort of like a 3-legged dog competing in an agility trial. At first you’re kind of self-abusingly hopeful for it, but as it becomes more and more clear that it’s going to work, your respect grows into a malignant admiration that eats at the soul in its proof of the inferiority of its surroundings.

At least, for normal writers. Those of us existing beyond the pale of the established mannerisms naturally feel only passing kinship followed by practiced, aloof disinterest to show how cool and artistic we are.

Editing was more or less competent, though I found a pretty significant number of errors. If it had a proofreader or copy editor, that person should find another line of work. If it didn’t, it needed one, but in either case the errors aren’t frequent enough to seriously interfere and may well slip past the average reader.

The use of language is marginally effective, showing no real flair or talent but maintaining the tight, careful skill Mr. Robinson is rightly known for. It does its job, stays more or less out of the way, and conveys a vague approximation of what it’s meant to convey, but it’s the difference between a handyman and an artisan – however excellent the handyman may be, his outcomes are capped, his potential trapped in the tin can of his poor life choices, and where an artisan may soar too close to the sun and fall epically into the sea, the handyman cannot even thusly aspire and his successes must be measured against a Sisyphean standard to be given credence. That is to say, its use of language more or less works, but it could have been so, so much more than it was, and an excellent use of language might well have given this another star.

In short, this is a fairly artsy and interesting piece, not fun in the strictest sense, but definitely enjoyable with agonizingly charismatic characters and a distinctive outlook on the world. It has no crowning flaws, nothing that drags it down into the river of effluence that is the norm, but it also lack the style, flair, or manifest artistic merit to make it to the 5-star range.

I would recommend it to those who are into music and characters and are willing to be a little bit forgiving to get there.

Micro-Review: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Micro-Review: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Title: A Pornodroid’s Tale

Author: S.A Barton

This book is a drab, helpless grasp at a tradition it only peripherally understands. In concept it has a lifetime of meaning to share and the potential for some real fun, but it fails to deliver at every level. The writing itself is fairly solid, the technicalities are adhered to, but its competence only highlights its hopelessness.

Micro-Review: Hurricane Hole

Micro-Review: Hurricane Hole

Title: Hurricane Hole

Author: Rebecca Dahlke

This is a book that adheres more closely to the mathematical formula which has taken romance by storm than any other I’ve seen. There is never, ever a hint of deviation from the formula, and to call it formulaic is to use a word which has become so dilute with time that it no longer applies. The only thing it would need to be the perfect mainstream romance would be hot sex scenes, basic copy editing, alluring characters, and, as goes without saying, entry level descriptive or evocative writing.

Micro-Review: Killer Within

Micro-Review: Killer Within

Title: Killer Within.

Author: Jeff Gunhaus

Killer Within is an intensely forgettable book. Its meanderings aren’t the twists and turns of a thriller, they’re just the lazy, meaningless trudging of an aging river.  The polish is better than average for an indie book, but it’s not enough. Its overall worth is barely passable, dullness building to the point where it becomes difficult to finish.

Micro-review: Miss.

Micro-review: Miss.

Title: Miss.

Author: Hattie Holden Edmonds

This book has interesting characters and an illuminative writing style, but not much more. The plot is both trite and inconclusive, with no twists or turns to speak of along the way, and the theater that appears to approach main character status in itself is a very cursory part of the action, encompassing something like 3 scenes in the entire book. The real star of the action appears to be Britain itself, and London in particular, with ostentatiously British additions mentioned almost constantly; if the author weren’t English herself, I would call it a case of self-congratulatory gratuitousness born of excess research, but as it stands I must simply assume she has no idea what constitutes overbearing nationalism.

The Shadow Garden – Allen Houston

The Shadow Garden – Allen Houston

Houston-The Shadow Garden CoverTitle: The Shadow Garden

Author: Allen Houston

Amazon Link: The Shadow Garden

Length: Roughly 370 pages

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Blurb:

Precocious Lily Blackwood carries a responsibility far greater than other people. As the last female Blackwood, she must keep the evils in Pandora’s Box from destroying the world.
With the help of her younger brother Silas, the dusk riders and her best friend Cassandra, she must protect Nightfall Gardens and ensure that the fairy-tale monsters, old gods and deathly shades stay separated from humanity.

But now, the creatures bound to the Gardens are gaining strength and threatening to break loose. Bemisch, a malevolent witch, has escaped into the mist land to join forces with Eldritch, a powerful nature god. The mysterious Smiling Ladies hold the key to a dark secret from the Blackwood family’s past, and something once again roams the halls of the manor, trying to kill Lily.

Worse yet, her fourteenth birthday is approaching and with it a dangerous rite of passage. Lily must enter the Shadow Garden, home of all that is nightmarish, and come face to face with her most terrifying threat yet.

 

Notecard review:

This is a masterfully constructed second book in a trilogy. The author skilfully reminds the readers of the story in the previous book, while still continuing to develop the characters, world, and moving the plot forwards. The story itself is two pronged and fits together beautifully; each side of the plot is used to add gravity and impact to the other. The characters are flawed and fantastically real in their emotions, and at no point do they read like little children as so many authors with characters this age do. Altogether, I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys MG fantasy, and I eagerly await the final instalment in this trilogy.

Full Review:

There is great skill involved in writing a sequel, particularly when said sequel is the middle book in a trilogy. It’s very easy, and common, to make it wandering and meaningless. This book is anything but. There is no exposition, rather the book dives straight back into the action and continues on where the previous book left off, while still threading in reminders of what’s gone before.

The plot in this book is certainly two-pronged as it follows the two main characters, and both plots twist and turn so as to keep the reader gripped and eager to read more. The separate plots fit together and each acts to add drama and weight to the other while being able to stand entirely alone if it’s required. The way that the author brings in the romantic sub-plots in this book is beautifully done. The character’s choices in potential partner are not as expected, and the progress of the relationships remains realistic and adds some much needed lightness to the ever-present darkness of this book.

That being said, the darkness is very well crafted with clear-cut intentions and plenty more hidden below the surface. None of the characters, no matter how tertiary, are flat. Each of them has a story to tell, and they do so in a way that compliments and adds something to the plot. With that thought in mind, the times where other characters tell their own stories blends into the plot very well. That can be a sticking point in some books, where said stories are dry and unnecessary, but in this case they flow and add flesh to an ever-increasingly complex plot.

On a technical level, this book shines. There were a few small typos, but nothing to really be concerned with. The entire thing flows from scene to scene, and as mentioned above, both sides of the plot are firmly entwined, which means that there’s no jolt when moving between them. The pacing is exactly as it needs to be with a fantastic crescendo and carefully-constructed ending that wraps up everything it needs to while leaving the reader needing to read the final book.

This book’s, and ultimately the author’s, real strength is in the comparison between the humans and the non-humans, between the darkness and the light. It is in those contrasts and the reminders that no one and nothing is pure one way or the other. The games that are played, the lies and truths that are told add a real depth to the entire story. That means that this book is much more than idle escapism, and it has much to make it appeal to a wide audience.

In summary, this is a very well-constructed book that shines on a number of different levels. The plots are intriguing, complex, and thoroughly entwined in the best possible way. The pacing is superb, and the characters are real with personalities that leap off the page, no matter how large or small a role they play in the book as a whole. The Shadow Garden doesn’t even come close to falling into any of the usual problems found in second books. It’s a very enjoyable read that many people will no doubt enjoy re-reading multiple times. I highly recommend it.

From The Sky: Arrival – David McGowan

From The Sky: Arrival – David McGowan

Title: Arrival

Author: David McGowan

Amazon Link: From the sky: Arrival

Point at which I would have quit: 30%

2 Non-Rising Non-Actions out of 5

 

Notecard Review:

 

Arrival is a distinctly disinterested book. It seems bored, meandering, bespeaking an author that cares neither for the book nor the readers. Its pacing is horrible, its narrative structure is an abomination, its characters are flat, and its only redeeming features are its remarkable contempt for the reader which expresses itself in ways that could almost be called profound and the linguistic skill that brought it and the authorial voice in general through loud and clear.

If only that voice had something to say.

 

Full Review:

 

There are many books that seem to show a strong contempt for their readers. It’s rare, however, for a book to illustrate in granular and redundant fashion a broad, personal contempt for human beings generally, for every man, woman, and child living out a dim and perilous life on our spiteful little orb.

I guess that makes this book special, which is good for it, since nothing else really does.

That’s not the book’s real problem, however, and if anything serves to distract like a mild case of poison ivy on the lacerated chest of a dying man. I am frequently known to say that a book is a quintessential series opener when it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, favoring impotent wandering and exposition. This is like that, or rather like the Super Turbo Ultra Limited Edition© Edition of that. While it does distinctly move somewhere, offering exposition only where necessary, it still somehow manages to remain strongly in that peculiarly modern exposition/rising action hybrid popularized by early-20th-century genre hacks and now teeming over the commercial fiction market in the sort of Grey Goo Scenario that characterizes the pseudo-cultural meanderings of popular entertainment perfectly.

It’s not an irredeemable technique, mind you, and it wouldn’t be hard to argue that it is, at a fundamental level, superior to the tyranny of Freytag and the legion of ill-educated compulsory education participants thronging innocently at his feet. Still, one ideally doesn’t want to make an entire book out of that, and Mr. McGowan has very clearly done so in this case.

Now, being that this is a trilogy, your first instinct (being the well-informed and thoughtful student of the medium and its parasitic commercial arm that you are) will no doubt be to assume that this is a single book that has been split into pieces to maximize profits at the expense of quality or logic. And that might be true. I would certainly be altogether unsurprised. That being said, even if that’s the case and you were, perhaps due to a debilitating mental illness, to keep an eye on this series until a box set is released in which you can read it as the actual single book it may well have been intended as, you would still be left with an entire third of a book made up of introduction, a painful and costly consequence of your terrible decision.

Still, we must examine the book for more than its pacing, mustn’t we? Let’s go through the list, then. Characters who have replaced personality and charm with grit and fatalism, a world devoid of hope and humanity, carefully-timed death to tug at our heart-strings with all the force and impact of a cricket playing the harp, and a plot that was already used up, spit out, reused, and thrown away when L. Ron Hubbard was just a guy with too much body odor and no negotiating skills? Check. Meaningless prose going nowhere and saying nothing as if taunting us with the amount of our time it’s devouring? Big check. Use of language with no style, flair, or sense of verbal skill or linguistic education? No check, actually. I’m going to give it that – the use of language was pretty good, and it strongly contributed to the authorial voice which came through loud and clear.

Still, what we’re left with in the end is a stillborn repetition of something we’ve all seen before, a failed cloning operation too foregone to call an experiment. The pacing is criminal, the characters are meaningless, the plot has nothing to add, and to try and dig out any message more complex than Give me money!  is at the vertex of self-deception and self-flagellation.

All in all, I can’t recommend this for anything but the undercurrent of contempt. You know. If you’re into contempt.

 

Michael is the court jester in the kingdom of truth. He combines a biting sense of humor with a lifetime of editing knowledge to craft reviews that are equal parts literary critique and insult comedy. Cruelty and veracity are his image of self.

The Spirit Room – Michael Cairns

The Spirit Room – Michael Cairns

The Spirit RoomTitle: The Spirit Room

Author: Michael Cairns

Amazon Link: The Spirit Room

Length: Roughly 370 pages

Rating: ♥♥

Blurb:

The Avengers meets Magician, The Planets Series is superhero conflict on a global scale…’

An ancient cadre of magicians
A select team of extra-ordinary warriors
An unseen foe

As two ancient forces battle for control, reality as we know it is being torn apart. Caught somewhere in the middle, and tasked with ridding the world of the insidious alien intelligence are The Planets. Neptune hails from Rio, the gay daughter of strict catholic parents. Mars, from Ireland, still missing the sister he lost years ago. Uri grew up on the streets of New York, and Venus… well, no one knows and she isn’t telling. Imbued with extra-ordinary powers, these highly trained individuals take the fight across the globe. With startling and unnerving revelations at every turn, the depth of deception is only now becoming clear…

 

Notecard Review:

This is a book for people who enjoy confused superhero books. When you dig down to the core of this book, the ideas have some potential to be interesting. Unfortunately, the plot itself is weak and confused, the characters are underdeveloped, and the book comes together like a malformed jigsaw. There are moments in which the potential shines through and it becomes almost compelling, but they are few and far between. If this book were rewritten with the help of a good developmental editor, then it could be very enjoyable. As it stands, it needs a lot of work and reads more like a first draft.

Full review:

The primary takeaway from this book is confusion. The book opens in the middle of some action, which is usually fantastic, but it assumes that the reader knows about the characters and world at hand. It’s the first in the series, but it reads more like the second or third book. Unfortunately, that’s never cleared up. The author drops the reader into the middle of the chaos and just carries on without a care in the world. This means that there’s a lot of information that is just thrown out and abandoned, because somehow the reader is just meant to know.

That confusion then extends out into the plot structure itself. I have to wonder if this author used the beat system or something similar, where they construct a framework of scenes that dictates that certain types of scenes come at certain points in the book. This means that the chapters would jump from intense action into something emotional from a character’s backstory, over to a modern day romance scene, back into some conspiracy and world-building. It completely threw out any potential for reasonable pacing or flow, and that only got worse later in the book. The author clearly wanted to place certain ideas in the reader’s mind and convey particular bits of backstory, but it was a cluster of ideas and standalone scenes that were haphazardly glued together.

On the topic of glued together, the characters had very little development and really didn’t work all that well as a team. The fact that it was difficult to remember who was who really didn’t help things. There were attempts at emotional development, but they fell flat, much like the action scenes. In both cases, they were quite contrived and lacked any impact due to a complete lack of investment in the characters on the reader’s part. They were names that flew around and did stuff while I, as the reader, attempted to figure out what on Earth was going on and why I was supposed to care.

The broad concepts and core ideas of this book hold potential. They’re not particularly new, but they have some potential to be fun and interesting were they carried off well. If a good developmental editor were to strip this back, then it could become an enjoyable book. As it stands, it needs a lot of work. On the grammatical side of things, it was reasonably tidy; I saw a few small errors later in the book where the author seemed to be in more of a rush.

That brings us around to the ending, with the contrived, frustrating final scene. It made no sense and went against what had been established earlier in the book. Things came out of nowhere and were then shrugged off. Any impact that it may have had was laughed off at the absurdity of the entire thing. That and the epilogue were just the final chapters attempting to wrap things up; they weren’t what would traditionally be called an epilogue.

In summary, this book was a collection of “what the hell just happened there?” moments that were thrown together in a sloppy fashion, along with a heap of assumptions and a fair dose of shrugging. The best moment was where the characters acknowledged the plot holes and just wandered off. Sure, they’re there, but what does it matter? The reader’s already three quarters of the way through the book…  This book has potential, but it needs to be stripped back to its bare bones, expanded, and brought together into a coherent narrative that makes sense.