Top critical review
If you're sensitive to overused words and phrasing, stay away
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2019
I didn't make it through the first chapter, so I'm not going to be rude and give it 1 star simply because it isn't to my taste. I don't trust reviewers who do that.
However, seasoned readers should probably beware.
I was immediately drawn to this book based on numerous targeted ads.
The plot sounded fantastic. Great cover art. Character names that weren't otherworldly levels of obnoxious (I'm looking at you, Clary).
So, I gave it a shot. Instantly purchased, even though I already have oh-so-many books sitting at home unread.
I cracked this open less than an hour ago, and decided that I can't bring myself to continue.
I don't consider myself an ABSOLUTE snob. I understand no book is perfect. I just want to be transported!
Why did I stop reading this quickly, I hear all two of you asking?
The editor on this book failed.
Seriously, worst editor EVER.
Here are the references to a smile/mouth/laughter in the first few pages alone as a descriptor:
Page 4 (the equivalent of the second page, as it begins on page 3):
"I couldn't help but grin."
"Whose lips twitched in an effort not to grin."
"Forcing a grin."
"Lips curling upward."
(There was also a "winked conspiratorially" which implies a smile yet again.)
"A wide smile."
"She grinned like a cat with cream."
"An alluring smile."
"An evil smile split his face."
"Andre bared his teeth."
(This is where I tapped out, but I'll continue through the first chapter just for your benefit.)
"Babette cast the two a small smile."
"Their grins vanished."
"Licking his lips nervously."
"With gleeful smirks."
"Her smile grew small and cruel."
"Smothering a snort."
"Shook with silent laughter."
"His mouth twisted."
"I could almost see her smile. It matched my own."
Now, maybe I'm just too sensitive and that's really not that bad. But, keep in mind that 1) I probably missed some and 2) this is a fairly easy read, so the repetitiveness of descriptors feels fairly unrelenting.
If this were the only issue, I probably wouldn't have said anything. But poor editing becomes even more clear through other examples.
"Babette glared at us." And then, just a couple short sentences later on the same page: "He glared at her for several long seconds." I don't think it was intended repetition to mirror Babette, but rather, they didn't realize that "glared" was already used above. And if it was an intentional glare, it should have been more obvious like "he matched her glare" or something, to make the two pointedly linked.
Similarly, the word "however" is used at least a few times within the first chapter.
References to "stupid" or idiot/idiocy, also several times in the first chapter.
It may very well be a book with a wonderful plot and full, developed characters - it certainly seemed like it had the potential to be interesting. However, I was so thoroughly taken out of it by the way certain phrasings and descriptors were overused that I decided it wasn't worth it. It felt rough, unpolished, and amateurish in this regard.
If you are not sensitive to cliches in word choices and repetition, you may love this book! I'm not saying don't give it a try - it may just be a "me" issue.
But, to the editor...and author, for that matter...please enter future novels into one of those "overused words" analysis websites online before beginning edits.
No one needs to read the word "grin" six times in one chapter alone.