Monday, December 17, 2012

The worst book I couldn't put down.

This book is so bad that I'm reading it again!

...Which makes it so good that I'm reading it again.

I went on an indy book streak a while back (that hasn't exactly ended, come to think of it).  Self publishing has become more and more valid as the authors have put in more effort to put across well written, well edited stories--not the hot messes that we used to get when authors were rejected by publishers and yet still wanted to get their stories out there.  Between their efforts and the lower prices, why not give them a shot?  So I read Sterling by Daninka Dark and declared it the worst book I couldn't put down.  I'm reading it again because I wanted to make sure I still felt that way before declaring that public and yes, there's plenty in it that makes me want to grind my teeth, and yet I once again can't put it down.

Book description (via Amazon):
Zoë Merrick lived an ordinary life until late one night, she was brutally attacked and left for dead. 
She was found, covered in blood, and taken in by an ex-soldier named Adam. Zoë didn't just survive that night - she underwent a physical transformation and acquired unexplainable abilities. Severed from her old life, her frustration grows as she tries to comprehend what's happening to her. 
Serendipity leads her to Justus De Gradi. He's handsome, arrogant, and not entirely human. Through Justus, Zoë learns the truth about what she is and where she belongs. A young Mage is vulnerable in this dangerous world. The only way Zoë will understand her power is by putting her trust in a stranger and accepting the protection that he offers.
When her immortal freedom is threatened by the one man who has a right to claim her, Zoë learns the price of freedom...and the value of loyalty.
I want to launch into the excessive adjectives, the many times that the author seems to think "why just show the audience when I can show and tell them?", the odd interactions/uncomfortable dialog, the off use of wording, including slang gone terribly wrong....And yet the best example of why I find this book so bad is in a bit of plotting early on.  Zoe's been attacked, left for dead, picked up by a sympathetic ex-military hottie, and transformed while she slept it off.  She wakes up taller, with different hair and a different face--I mean, she really transformed.  She establishes a friendship with Adam, who feeds her and picks up some clothes without asking too many questions since she doesn't want to give any answers.  And then nothing happens for two weeks.

For two weeks, she doesn't search the internet for similar transformations, regardless of the fact that she would find none.  She doesn't experiment to find out of she's gotten more for her trouble than killer hair.  Basically, all she did in that lapsed time was chew up my suspension of disbelief and spit it out.

Yet, I recommend it.  For all the book's flaws, the author created a story in which I always wanted to know "What happens next?"  I read the first book, immediately bought the second, and checked her site to find out when the third would be out.  Now that I'm nearly done with the re-read of the first, I'll do the same with the second before buying the now-out third and probably the novella set in the same world.

There's the bones of good story telling in these books that will hopefully grow as the author has more practice, and is still worth the read in the meantime.  You should check it out for yourself.