Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enchanted Darkly (Tarrant Smith)

Instead of sleeping early tonight, I gave into temptation and decided to read another novel prior to working up patients for six am rounds. A few hours later, I regret not opting for rest, or perhaps a designer latte in the morning.

  • Overall: 2.3 ҉
  • Plot: 3/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 1/5
  • Believability: 2/5

As always, I'll start with the good: the introduction. The first few screens were reminiscent of Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, instantly grabbing your attention by dropping you into the realm of the supernatural before turning you back over to modern-day America. There was brief mention of an orgasm that made me a bit wary, but I assumed it would be similar to Practical Magic, where sexual overtones are present without descending into smut. Seeing it listed on Amazon under "Literature and Fiction," I somehow missed the tag for "erotic fantasy." Whoops.

The author does an admirable job of helping the reader identify with Jen right from the first chapter. How could the imaginings of a little girl fail to tug at one's heartstrings? Each omen introduced had me wondering whether it was a sign of something light or evil, and I was eagerly anticipating the development of the heroine's superhuman powers.

Somewhere around the 30% mark on my e-reader, I started noticing the frequency of errors. Well, the first instance was "loosing" instead of losing - twice - as well as "thought" instead of "though" and the ever-present (and increasingly annoying) use of "cafe'" instead of "cafe" or "café," and yes, that extra apostrophe was intentional as far as I can tell. Still, I pushed through, despite the thinning of the plot that had held such promise. We're expected to believe Jen's sudden shift from novice to budding master, as well as her odd lack of wariness about her newly rediscovered talents after the one who sparked her interest in the occult turns out to be a fraud. Clearly, the author was trying to mask these deficiencies with frequent sex scenes. (I confess that I skipped those, expecting the storyline to be able to carry its own weight. It didn't.)

At 64% and fifteen errors later, I came across a misplaced period and couldn't move on. (It was used instead of a comma.) Perhaps this is being technical, but if one is expected to purchase a piece of literature, one ought to receive a product that isn't riddled with mistakes such as "site" for "sight," proof that it was not properly proofread prior to publication. A handful of these flubs are allowable, but I ran out of fingers and had to move on to my toes in order to keep track of them all.

After a hot shower and some freshly brushed teeth, I considered that my assessment may have been a bit harsh. I returned to the novel and worked my way through three screens of descriptions of a culinary nature before I hit a reference to "Billy Holiday," shortly after the description of a roux as a "rue." At that point, I had to shut the e-reader off. Perhaps the conclusion to the novel is fantastic, but the author lost me at sixty-four percent. If I'm feeling generous, I may finish the other thirty-six someday.


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