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The Usurper Paperback – October 1, 2011
The Usurper is an attention-grabbing story and an eye opener on many levels. Although The Usurper is a work of fiction, many instances could be comparable to some going-ons in our world today. Ball indeed did a terrific job with his imagination. Review on Manic Readers.com
What impressed me the most was Ball's very accurate depiction of the power of indoctrination. In many ways it was a rather chilling view of what 'could have been'. If you like political thrillers then I highly recommend it. Tracey Alley - reader review
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Then comes the second half of the novel and it unfortunately degenerates into a real mess. It becomes ludicrous and unbelievable, stretching plausibility to the max.
I hovered between 3 stars and 4 for this one, but had to opt for 3 in the final analysis. The writing needs a little better editing. It's Lear jet not Leer jet and other such bon mots scattered throughout. Some of the other reviews are unnecessarily harsh. This is not a terrible novel, but it had the potential to be so much better. I hope Cliff Ball keeps on writing and develops his talent. There is talent there, it just needs some refinement.
Perhaps this was intended to be a farce and the ridiculousness of the situation was intentional. If I had kept going, perhaps I would have realized that. But I was just not that interested in the 17 year old idiot that was the protagonist at that point and decided to cut my losses.
It's pretty obvious that the author didn't use anyone to help him with editing. The amount spent on a good editor can be the difference between a good review and a bad. Switching tenses in the middle of sentences, paragraphs, etc., run on sentences, overuse of commas, misspellings...a few in the course of a book are excusable, but this was ridiculous. Even scarier, the author was an English major? The English language weeps.
And the story..."conservatives are good, liberals are evil." You really could have just written that and had it succeed. Liberal = socialist/communist = terrorist = fascist in the author's mind, apparently, because he just rolls up all evil into one broad brush of non-Christian, non-conservative. I'm a moderate, and a Christian, and was rolling my eyes at so many points. Right down to the biracial President, it was simply incredible how thin the veneer of "fiction" really was. And the ending was totally unbelievable, on so many levels. It really became something of, "oh, no, I need to finish this up, lemme see how completely unrealistic an ending I can make up!"
Oh, and the name dropping...give me a break! Seems that they met pretty much every "celebrity" of the past 5 decades through the course of the book!!!
I see that the author has come to read comments, and reply, and I sincerely applaud him for that. It takes a big person to actually read criticism, and respond in a thoughtful manner. But really...character development, a bit of separation between the "fiction" of the novel and reality, and a good editor (who can critique the novel itself as well) would do wonders for you. I see you like books in the Clancy realm...go back and read them better. What makes him great is that while he stretches the bounds of reality, he does so in a believable way. His characters are also quite developed, yes, almost to a fault at times. He also obviously has good editors. The reader isn't distracted by the errors, instead they're blips on the radar.