Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Y by Karen Osgood


It began with a dream. . . 
“There she stood, facing the mirror. Her long, red hair fell towards the floor with the appearance of fire. The woven curls swirled with hues of red and orange. These colors appeared to dance through her hair like the colors of flame. A golden border around the mirror shown brighter than the mirror itself. The girl faced that mirror, yet her expression remained unseen. 
“She was far away, yet Lyva could see her clearly. An old, green dress held itself upon her skinny limbs. Her hands must have been clasped before her. The skin and face remained unseen. 
“For a currently unknown reason, Lyva simply knew that the girl needed help. Quickly, she ran down the long hallways towards her. The silver, metal walls seemed to stretch and twist. They gleamed and shined eerily around her. The sun was nowhere to be seen. Somehow, the red-haired girl appeared to be moving further away. Fear began to fill her mind, as Lyva realized that she would never save the girl. . .” 
So begins this story. Our heroine, Lyva, and her brother, Parnih, must set out on a quest for the missing stars, and to find an answer to Lyva’s dreams.

My review:

It breaks my heart to give a good story a bad review. I want to make it quite clear that I think that Y is at it's heart a good story.  However there are a lot of technical issues with Y that made that story hard to enjoy. I understand how bad reviews can kill a book or author before they get a chance, this is not my intention with this review. I think that both this book and it's author show a large amount of potential.  So I'm going to try to be as detailed as I can with this review, not to tear the book apart, but to explain why I had the issues I did with it.  Before I get started though I want to say that I am a reviewer, what I write is my opinion. I encourage others to not just take my word on something, but to read and form their own opinions as well. 

Some books lose stars because of their lack of description. Y is not one of those.  It has great descriptions. The problem with them is that the author will over use these descriptions on a single action or item or character. I think if the author had chosen just one of those amazing descriptions it would have been fine. But using all of them, all at once just got repetitive. I kept questioning why the author felt the need to keep saying the same thing three or four different ways. It was as if they felt their original words weren't enough and they had to over compensate by repeating themselves in different ways. It wasn't just in descriptions of scenery or characters, but in the descriptions of their actions.  It really made it hard to stay in the story.

I had other issues with the writing as well. There are sections where instead of the author just describing what happened she literally would stop and say 'this is [basically] what happened' and then go on to describe what went on in the scene. It didn't make any sense. I kept asking myself why the author didn't just keep the flow of the story going. Why she felt the need to stop and say that. It completely threw me out of the story. If the author had just kept the flow of the story going, not bothered to interrupt and tell the reader that she was going to tell them what happened it would have made the story so much easier to read and enjoy. 

There were a few other issues.  The tense would change mid paragraph between past and present. Nothing major, but once again it just took me out of the story. Also, while I understand authors try to avoid info dumping I would have liked a little more background on the world the characters are in. I also would have liked a bit more fleshing out of the characters. 

The shame of it is I think a decent beta reader, or editor, could have pointed all these issues out to the author fixed them before the book was published.  I think if they had been caught  the story could have easily been 4 stars, even 5. The basic idea of the book, Lyva's quest, it kept me reading.  I had hoped the writing itself would have improved, but at the same time I still wanted to find out what was going to happen at the end. I think this author shows promise. Her story idea was intriguing and the book itself just needed polishing to pull it together. I wish I could give half stars when putting ratings on Goodreads or Amazon and the like, but unfortunately I can't. The issues with the book just overshadowed the idea of the story itself so I can't say it's a 3, but it's close, just not close enough. 

I looked into the author and this looks to be her only work so far. I would definitely be interested in seeing what else this author has to present in the future. Hopefully given time and experience this author will be able to feel confident in her own writing and really shine. 

I'm putting this review up knowing that it is the first one for this book on both Amazon and Goodreads. That's a lot of pressure so please don't hate me for not being able to give it a shining 5 star recommendation. I hope I was able to clearly show what my issues were with the book. I've had books I've read in the past that are just bad. Not only are they a mess word wise, but just all over bad. This is not one of them. I just think it should have gone through a bit more editing before going public.

Again, and this is to the author personally. I think your book was a good first try. I've seen worse, way worse. You have an amazing way with words. You're word choices and how you put them together was poetic. As I said above there are just some things you need to work on. I really don't want you to see the low star count and get angry or, worse, discouraged.  I think if you keep writing, find some dependable beta readers, ones who aren't afraid to hurt your feelings and tell you the truth, or a good editor, I think that you definitely have a promising future in the literary world.  


I got this book from Amazon because it was on sale and decided to review it for this event. All opinions in this fair and honest review are my own.

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