Friday, March 29, 2013

Review Me Once- Epilogue and I See by your very own bloggers

Welcome to a very special week, here at Review Me Twice!  Ok, so the whole month is super fun, but this week especially.  Since we're reviewing so many NaNo novels (or works by NaNo authors, as the case may be), why not review two NaNo novels of authors that you have come to know and love: your very own blog masters.

Hey!  We know that name!

Before I start this book, I just want to make it clear that Alex wrote it during NaNo and never really edited it.  This is, for all intents and purposes, a rough draft.  No editing, no revisions, nothing.  So while it may SEEM like I'm being harsh, she never really decided to bring it to the final place that she wanted to.

That said, I'm going to start with the things that I like about this book.  I like that it drops you right into the world with very little prelude.  We kind of have to figure out what Crazies, Military and Zealots are.  While the language doesn't differ too much from our own, there are still phrases we're just expected to... figure out. I like that.  It's got a very Scott Westerfeld feel to it (who, we all already know, is awesome).

There are some really strong scenes in the book.  For instance, the opening scene is one that's very catching. The president is asking everyone to remain calm because the world is, essentially coming to an end via plague.  It's very powerful and, well, desperate, but it was such a great way to open!  I like that Chaya is very OCD, but you don't really notice at first.  I like that their Pre-Announcement habits still stick around.  It makes it seem like it is really that close to present day.

And there even manages to be a little bit of a twist ending.  If you think about it, you could inevitably figure out what it is, but there are a lot of elements that went into it, and not all of them are predictable.

The thing that I like best though, is that since I have the privileged of knowing the author, I can see all the little bits of herself in the novel.  Chaya stays in the library and learns all that she can from books.  She's also smart.  The vocab in the book is very Alex and Chaya's ramblings and inner thoughts are very similar to the way that Alex talks.  I've never had this kind of insight when it comes to books before.  I've never personally known the author before.  And honestly, I really LIKE that I know the author.  I think it makes it more fun to read the book.

So, the things that this book could use in terms of improvement.  There is a really bad habit of explaining everything in excruciating detail.  There are times we, as the reader, don't need to be told.  We can infer things but in this book... well, we're never really allowed to infer.  We're told about EVERYTHING, sometimes almost to the point of beating a dead horse.

The books also needs a little more research, but I feel like this is just a product of a NaNo novel.  The environment and geography, how long things would last if they were perishable.  A lot of little, but noticeable things that would probably be easily fixed with a revision.

The book, towards the last third, also was incredibly rushed.  There were a lot of good ideas and good plot points, but she didn't give herself time to get there.  Climaxes and endings should be eased into, and this book really didn't do that.  And the middle really lulled, so it made the end rush all more obvious.
While I DO like that Alex's personality shows up in the book, sometimes, it's a bit much.  Alex has a GREAT vocabulary (seriously.  It's stellar.  It puts mine to shame.), but sometimes, that vocabulary doesn't fit.  One example is, "'What of Angelo?' This heretofore unasked question came from the petite woman across the circle from Karsten."  Heretofore, very good word.  Not so great for that sentence.  That kind of happens a lot in the book.  Good vocabularies are good to have, but not always necessary.

Overall, a good start to a book, but very obviously not meant to be a final product.  With some major revisions, this could turn in to something amazing.  But, as is, it could still use some work.

My Bottom Line 2 out of 5.

That's right, boys and girls: It's available on the Kindle!

While I didn't edit Epilogue at all (in fact, I've never read it all the way through myself), Cassy put a lot of work into I See, and you can tell. It's really, really good.

You may think I'm just saying that because I'm her friend and I know she worked hard on it. But that's definitely not the case. Sometimes, I forgot that this was my friend's NaNoWriMo novel, and felt like I was reading a regular YA book. It's that good.

As Cassy mentioned on Monday, she based this story off the myth of Cassandra, a girl who is blessed/cursed with visions of the future. Except instead of ancient times, this version of Cassandra lives in the modern day and goes to public high school. You don't have to be familiar at all with the original myth to understand the plot, or even the many references to myth and history; they are integrated very well.

I knew to expect a lot of characters (not like Game of Thrones number of characters, but more than a few) but I didn't think there were too many. It felt like a normal-sized group of people than your average high-schooler would interact with on a regular basis. (Even though Cassandra is definitely not your average high-schooler.)

There are still some typos, but 50,000+ words is a lot to sift through by yourself. Other than that, I really didn't find anything wrong with it. The characters are well-developed, the dialogue is natural, the plot progresses logically but not so much so that you see everything coming (you might guess at what happens at the end, but you don't know if you're right until it's all over), and the resolution is rewarding (I think... I know there are those who disagree with me on this plane, but that's a discussion for another day).

Well done, Cassy!


  1. I think its really cool that you guys could review each others work objectively and not be mad at the other one for receiving constructive criticism. I've never let anyone else read my short stories I wrote for creative writing, and I'm sure they are no where near as good as your works are.

    1. What are you talking about? I'm obviously very angry at Alex for liking my book. I mean, how dare she. ;)

  2. I'll definitely look into checking out "I See" though I don't have a kindle so I'm assuming there should be an option to get a paperback copy. But seeing this post motivates me to put pen to paper. Off to write! Well as soon as I read the latest post :)

    1. Sooo, I thought I was going crazy, but it turns out that I just replied to the wrong comment. XD SO, here is my reply in the right place.

      Well, you CAN read kindle books on your computer (just download the app.)

      I only tell you this because I think that the paperback version is ridiculously overpriced (mainly because they wouldn't let me sell it for any lower.)

      The kindle version is $4. XD