I purchased a Kindle copy of Victorine Lieske's Not What She Seems this afternoon in an effort to put off studying. As I continue to procrastinate, I'll share my final breakdown:
I chose this novel after seeing a great number of Ms. Lieske's posts on Kindleboards. The summary sounded interesting, so I figured, "Oh, why not? It's only $2.99." For the price, it was certainly a bargain, and hundreds of sales and positive reviews don't lie, right? Right.
I'll start off with the good. The storyline was interesting, keeping the reader in a constant "whodunnit" frame of mind. Every suspect had a reasonable motive, and all of it tied together rather nicely in the end.
Now, for the less appealing part of review-writing. In general, I'm able to appreciate shorter sentences. Few people can imitate Charles Dickens today and get away with it in that respect. With that being said, the language was occasionally choppy, which would have been really distracting were I not so drawn into the plot. There were also a couple of instances were a bit more variety would have been nice, such as scenes where "said" or "asked" was used first in one line, then again in the next...but this is nitpicking.
I was very interested in the heroine and what became of her. Overall, however, a lot of the emotions felt forced. The groundwork was there, but a few more chapters scattered throughout the novel would have developed the relationships and connections and character backgrounds a bit more. For instance, the interaction between Steven and Emily wasn't sufficient for me to believe in their feelings for each other. Motives were also being thrown in left and right without giving a reader the time really to absorb it all and weave it into his own mental construct of the complicated web of intrigue. In short, the fast-pacing of the story came at the cost of credibility. There were minor editing errors, but they weren't egregious enough to give me pause. I think I'll dub them "reasonable."
Something to note about the Kindle file is that the formatting left something to be desired. It was difficult to detect scene changes, chapter headings were formatted exactly like the text and were thus hard to notice if you're trying to flip back and look at something, and none of the rows of asterisks were centered. I would have loved a table of contents, too. E-book formatting is a nightmare, though, and has nothing to do with the author's ability to write, so this comment has zero bearing on the overall review.
Overall, I did enjoy this story. I did. I just wish that there had been more of it to flesh things out.