Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: Homecoming by Anne B. Walsh (ebook)

Synopsis: Kidnapped as a child, Avani's reunion with her parents at 18 is difficult and confusing. Raised as the abused servant of rebelious minor noble, she now finds herself the only child of the Duke and Duchess, who hold power second only to the King. A prophecy decrees she must marry the King or risk the ruination of the Kingdom, but the King is narrow-minded, old, pompous - and determined to banish the all other races except humans. When she finds family and love with those other races, her loyalty is tested. Will Vani stay and fullfill her destiney - or carve her own path?

Review: I'm giving this book four bookmarks, with a caveat (see below)

The Idea: Brilliant! I gasped at the ending. It’s clever, intricate, unlike anything I remember reading.
The Plot: Despite a few minor holes, the plot moves the reader along, through action and a well-thought out world. It was a pleasure to visit Ms. Walsh's imagination. She has a knack for creating a unique universe.

Length: Sweet Baby Jebuz, WAY too long. At 116,000 words (per the author), is far exceeds the industry standard for a YA novel (50,000 to 70,000). Lengthy internal monologues, redundant scenes, stories within the story stretching pages – to quote Strunk and White, Omit Needless Words. And by my count, needless words comprise half this book. The other option – separate the story into two books. The first few chapters, when Vani first comes to the Palace, should be its own story anyway. By not exploring Vani’s reunion with her parents, the emotional climax didn't hold me at all.
Characters: Too many. I understand, due to plot (which I won't spoil), there will be a greater number than normal amount of characters. However, at least 3, maybe 5 could be omitted or combined and the story would be better for it.
Show and Tell: The characters spent more time telling the reader about themselves then showing. It was tedious and made it hard to connect with them. Instead of the character talking to themselves about how other characters are this or that – show me. Show me through action, plot, scene – not internal yammering. I never felt Vani’s relationships because I was told she had them, rarely shown - particularly in the beginning.

THE CONCLUSION: With serious revision, this will be a fantastic book. The structure is there, the world, the concept – it is a solid foundation with a wickedly clever twist. While I cannot recommend this book in its current state, I should be glad to once it undergoes the mentioned edits. My caveat for four bookmarks is this: once fixed, this story might get seven or even eight bookmarks.

I received this book free as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Bookmarks: 4 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 3-24-2013
Pages: N/A

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