Wednesday 16 June 2021

Book Review: "A Voice in the Night: An Adventure of Mystery and Suspense" by Ernestine Dail

⭐⭐ out of 5

This book is starting off with the full 5 stars, the same as with every book I read and review.

First off, the author has said that they've written it for 8-13 year olds, but that covers 3 different ages of books over here in the UK - Early Chapter Books for the 8 year olds, Middle Grade novels for 9-12 year olds and Young Adult for the 13 year olds... it might be different in the authors country, but there's a huuuuuge range of reading ability between 8 year olds who are newly confident readers and 13 year olds who either love, hate or feel indifferent to books.  I guess I'll find out the age of the main character and therefore which book this is aimed at over here.  It's only got 66 pages too apparently, so that's short even for 8 year olds!

Ah right, it's printed in America, so maybe that's how things are done over there?  Different books for different age ranges, just like their education system?  Is that why the author has chosen to write for such a huge range of ages - because they wanted to include the gifted and the less able in the same book?

Riiiight... the author has put an index to each of the chapter beginnings which is more of a non-fiction book thing, rather than a fiction thing, especially over here in the UK.  Does that mean that it's non-fiction maybe?

Ooh!  The first image is good!  It's great that there's a non-white character for this book, so my interest is already increased and I can't wait to get to know this character!

Oh dear, judging by the fourth word of the story, the author is aiming it at teens 'cos there's no way that an 8 year old would know what "ominous" meant, let alone how to pronounce it.  Same with "ferociously" - that's two words in the first paragraph so maybe it's a short story for 13 year olds?

Another two words in the first two sentences of the next page... an 8 year old would have thrown this book across the room already, so I reckon this is definitely a short story for young teens, based on the first two paragraphs of the book alone.

I've read two pages and there hasn't been a word of dialogue yet... there were a few opportunities to have thoughts or even whispers but the author has chosen not to use them unfortunately.  If it carries on like this, then the first star will come off unfortunately.

Now the author is using imperial as opposed to decimal which might be how they measure things in America, but UK children wouldn't have a clue about how tall "six feet tall" is.

Even more opportunities for dialogue that haven't been grasped.

Not even a single word of dialogue after five pages, so I'm out of patience with it now and the first star is coming off.

The word choices haven't improved - "qualitative" on page 6 now... unless things improve dramatically there will be another star coming off unfortunately.  I don't like taking stars off and I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt, but there's only so far I'll go and I'm in the head of a 13 year old and even if they were gifted, there is only so much a child is mature enough to forgive.  We're down to three stars and there's still 60 pages to go, so things aren't looking good right now.

Well, I've just finished reading chapter 1 and there wasn't a single word of speech so there's no way that even the most bookwormey 13 year old would keep reading, unfortunately.

It's taken eleven pages, but there is finally speech!  Brian and his dad have finally uttered a sentence of speech each!

At 16 pages and 1.5 chapters, I've just discovered that Brian is 15 years old, so it's a young adult short story rather than a novel for 8-13 year olds.  I'm guessing there are only 10,000 words tops too, so definitely not a novel.

Where's the tension and disagreement?  I've read 18 pages so far and there hasn't been anything like that at all... not even a disagreement between Brian and his family which happens all the time in teenagers real lives!  The author has written this as an escape for parents rather than a novel for children!

Blimey!  After maybe 2 or 3 pages, I'm at chapter 3 now... that's about a third of the number of pages in the first chapter!

The first page of chapter 3 has me confused... to quote directly from the book "when he saw the man with the black at the rap contest."  What is the black thing that the man has?  Hair?  Coat?  Hat?  Shoes?  Clothes?  Skin?  That should definitely have been picked up in the edits before publication!  The third star is teetering on the edge of being dropped and I'm only a third of the way through the book!

At last!  Some speech between Brian and his parents!  It's only taken until chapter 3 and a third of the way through for that to happen!

Suddenly there has been a robbery of diamonds come out of nowhere!  If the book had opened at the crime scene, instead of so much dull backstory, then it would have thrown the reader right into it and made them want to keep reading!

Another boo-boo that should have been picked up before publication...  at least it's just a single letter (s) as opposed to a whole word this time though!

Oh boy, the author is using measurement characters instead of the words now which will confuse the  teens even more!  That teetering star is on the verge of being dropped and taking the book down to two stars, but at least I'm (just) over half way now.

Within literally three sentences, the detective has found the undisclosed location that the guards had disappeared to, interviewed them, decided that they hadn't stolen the diamonds then released them... that could have been a tension point there and made the reader want to carry on reading, instead of just being three sentences!!

We're up to chapter 5 now and there are 19 pages left to read, so it's gonna be rushed and potentially spoiled.

Another error that should have been picked up before it was published... who is the "I" on page 46??

As predicted, the story is being rushed now and too much is happening too quickly, so the third star just dropped off and we're now at only two stars.  It's not the worst children's book I've read, but it should have gone through critiques and at least one edit before it was published, IMHO.

Chapter six is a whole new storyline that seems to have been tagged on to the end for no reason whatsoever that I can see.

Yep, the last pages are totally rushed.  There are plenty (as in at least 40,000) of words left to make it into a proper novel instead of a short story, so I dunno why the author felt the need to rush things.

There was slight potential in a few places, but it was an obviously rushed, self-published book that the author wanted to see their name on, rather than caring about the quality of their manuscript.

No comments:

Post a Comment