Saturday, January 1, 2011

Review – Coming Home – Graylin Fox

Coming Home
Graylin Fox
Available from Decadent Publishing
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 2.99

After losing her husband and son in a car wreck, Lyn is left alone. Even though overwhelmed with grief, financial responsibilities bring her back to reality. With the decision to sell her ancestral home, Lyn is greeted by memories of childhood as she meets up with the water dryad and brownie couple, who had helped her grandmother raise her. The old plantation on the coastal marsh along the bayou of Louisiana reunites her with the joys she'd long forgotten—until she finds herself in the middle of a mysterious war.

Doors open and secrets are revealed, but will she be able to survive the nightmares she'd left behind as a child or walk away with more than she'd expected?

Two Enders did not finish this super-short.

Ender Ann Marie – Never will I buy from this publisher again. If this is the drivel you choose to contract, and this is what you consider a quality edit, then you need to get someone who actually knows what they are doing. I couldn't finish Secret Santa. Now I barely made it through this poorly conceived story with its skewed logic and no firm plot. Really? You think I'm coming back for more? Not in this lifetime. Either up your quality or get out of the game. Period!

Ender Elle – Uh, and huh? I had a really hard time following this story. It's a lot to take in at once and parts are really not explained or just confusing. My biggest issue is that the editor should have clarified a lot of what is going on in a complex short story with references to Beltane, the solstices, the Seelies and Unseelies. Not to mention the White Lady who is used as the name for a property which doesn't really make sense when tied to what the Beann Fhionn is. There were many contradictions that I found difficult to absorb and then there were areas where the story shifted so abruptly to what was almost a fantasy world that I was trying to back track to see if I'd missed something.

The whole tangent between the heroine's husband and son dying is an impetus to what I think was planned as a bigger story, but wasn't well explored – I admit, I may be giving the author some credit here, but I'm trying to give her some credit. Personally, I thought these tragedies were an opportunity to build the story, unfortunately that seemed skimmed over or completely missed. It could have actually added to the depth of the heroine, which was non-existent. Emotional drive was missing but this was due to the author telling the story which made the heroine come across as very bipolar in some instances and bland as oatmeal in others.

The connection to her parents and grandmother never quite gelled because not enough information was put into the story.

The story felt extremely rushed and in need of a really good editor who could have said 'you need to add more explanation', 'you aren't really making sense', 'how many hands does your brownie have because according to you he's holding three weapons all at the same time'. I really needed more backstory and explanation to dig through this story. Still, it's a debut.

Overall – disappointing. Most of this was some big, 'new' author mistakes. Not sure if this author simply didn't perform her edit or her editor simply didn't care about the story. It's a D in my book.

Ender Esse – I should have quit while I was ahead. This story sucked from page one to page 24. I could go on and on about what was wrong with the story, but I can't site lines from the story. Brevity hurt it. Poor editing hurt it. A couple of missed words in it made sentences difficult to read. Contradictions and no firm basis for the plot line just made this story a train wreck on my screen. What was the whole purpose of this story? I have no idea. An F – all the way through.

Ender Gwen - Coming Home is the debut book from author Graylin Fox. I have to give credit where it's due. At least she had the courage to submit it into the wide world of publishing. I wanted to like this story since brownies and pixies and the like don't make the rounds often. The opening paragraphs were charming on the surface, giving me a kernel of hope that I would be in for something delightful. However, the immediate lack of description after the opening paragraphs killed the charm for me.

It's never really made clear why she left the plantation in the first place, and I found it a huge stretch to think if the heroine was indeed sent to live with her Granny from the Seelie court, she wouldn't have wanted to remain at the plantation even after her marriage—or indeed after the tragedy occurred in her life. After finding out the Granny held all this energy, the heroine's removal from the area seems even harder to believe. I would have liked an explanation of how her family came to be in power with the Seelie court to being with. And the issue with selling the house was never resolved.

There is no emotional connection between the heroine and the reader. Things are told to the reader as well as having the reader be expected to feel a reaction between the heroine and the things around her. At one point I didn't care if the heroine lived or died. The heroine goes through the motions of living, fighting and finding her long lost parents without a reaction.

This is a typical book from a very new author and many new writer mistakes are made throughout. However, the editor on this project should have caught them and insisted they be changed. Because they weren't, it brings this story down in my estimation.

Had the author taken care and time to expand the story and give an effort into world building, Coming Home would have benefited greatly from the added length. As it is, this is the case of the author slapping together a few random thoughts without having a firm grasp on character development, plot or story depth.

That's what disappointed me most.

Overall score-author – D(intriguing concept, but was never fully explored. Plot was exceptionally thin and story was all told).

Overall score-editor-D (no major grammar errors were caught).

That's our first review for 2011 – the bar has been set pretty low.

The Enders.

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to reviews, authors can be touchy about their work. Obviously, Ms. Fox put her heart into the book, so she's connected to it. Sure, striking out at negative reviews and reviewers is just asking to get your *ss kicked, but perhaps she's new to the industry.
    I think reviews can hurt books, but they also help them. And yes, they're subjective. That said, I got a lot more out of Ender Elle's and Ender Gwen's thoughtful comments than the others. Simply stating a book sucks isn't a review, though it is an opinion. This being your site, you can and will write whatever you like. But I would think you can understand Ms. Fox's disappointment with the reviews. Honestly, all writers get good and bad reviews. That's the breaks. I write, and I've ignored the ones I don't like. Hopefully in time, Ms. Fox will as well. I won't even get started on the publisher's actions. I'm not quite sure what they hoped to achieve by taking the complaint public.
    In any case, as a writer, it's nice to see more people reviewing. It's also helpful when you constructively say what you like or DON'T like about a book. The "it sucked" comments usually don't help readers understand what's wrong with the book. And sometimes us writers listen, and we try to fix what doesn't work.
    Note: I read about this debacle through Dear Author and had to comment. Hope you don't mind.
    Marie Harte