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One-dimensional characters in this SCI-FI
on June 9, 2014
HATED: All the characters spoke like the same mature, serious 30-40 year old, whether street-smart, criminal women, the "bad guy", the female doctors or the hero--all spoke the same. No one had their own speech pattern, level of humour or unique words or phrases. No one even had unique behaviours, like biting their fingernails when worried, smoothing their hair has they spoke, etc.
LOVED: The huge amount of research/knowledge about espionage, etc, that helped make the scenes less contrived. Whether flying a helicopter, the technology bad guys use to track people, the way the searchers communicate, the way their ranks work, the levels of army training, parachuting ... the list goes on. Very well executed by the author!
HATED: I felt the 11 year old, Rachel, was an empty shell. In chapter 2, where she says, "It's not too late for you to keep yourself out of this. What you've already done is more than--" I thought, "Oh, no, this guy doesn't know how to write kids." She spoke like the other adults, which I self-explained as being because she had heard adult's thoughts all her life. However, I felt it was more realistic for her to long to be a regular child. She would have been deeper if she'd loved listening-in to children's minds--minds without care or knowledge of adult thoughts or bad things in the world. Wouldn't she seek out that kind of escape? When Rachel saw raunchy, naked adults in a hot tub, through the mind of an adult, I thought she'd naturally think, "Eww. Some adults are so gross. I hate when I see that stuff," or something age appropriate, but she thought nothing of it. Just because she was exposed to their thoughts doesn't mean she had to accept it. She verged on creepy because she was too stoic for a child and had no child-like interests. If she'd been better developed, she could have been a day-dreamer (which would fit with the end), noticing/capturing bugs all the time, or counting the different birds every day, or insisting on finding a TV at 5pm to watch Spongebob, or being fussy about the clothes she was told to wear. She never argued, never wanted to give up and run away to have fun, just always agreed with the adults. 11-year-old or robot?
HATED: The overuse of the words "simply" and "softly"! Every second page, someone simply decided, simply sat down, simply drove on, simply looked away... Drove me nuts. And then, we had on every fourth page, Her voice was soft... he said it softly... Harris asked softly... making his voice as soft as he could... Rachel said. Then softer. Ugh!
LOVED: Chapter 47 (last one). Very good ending that not only satisfied, it made me smile and tear-up. It was the perfect length, with the perfect amount of communication. Any more and it would have dragged, any less and it would have been left wanting. The ending was what made me wonder if it was more a 3 star book, it was that good. Dryden got his meaning in life back, thanks to Rachel, and Rachel got something that her revenge would have stolen from her--loved it.
HATED: the many, many POVs. Minor characters were introduced with their own POV right up to chapter 39, when we meet a guy who gets his own mini chapter. I skimmed all but the two main character's POVs, and I wasn't confused at all. It made me wonder if it could have been told "simply" from Dryden and Rachel's POV--but that would have made it half the book it is. Oh, amendment on my point of no one having their own voice--a minor character who was a dim Southerner got his own chapter (that grossed me out) and had a few lines that sounded different to everyone else.
HATED: Nothing on the covers said anything about this $20 book's main theme being sci-fi. I felt duped into buying it (hardcover), not that I mind basic aspects of sci-fi, but this was FULL ON sci-fi. If that's the kind of book it is, why disguise it as something else?