Book Review: The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich (1.5/5)

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Summary: Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone are an unconventional couple and partners in crime: a poet and a slow-aging thief. As they wander to the Eastern edge of the world, they are swept onto an adventure that involves magic scrolls, gangs, the mythical dragons and their unborn child.

I really wanted to like this book. I really did. High fantasy with Eastern influence, threads of Chinese culture. A magical scroll. A poet and a thief as the main characters. The names Gaunt and Bone. It sounds like it could be something astounding, something breathtakingly fantastical.

The author’s writing style…Ahhh this tears me apart. On one hand, it’s very gorgeous, scattered with stunning figurative language and a distinct Eastern cultural influence. But, after reading a few pages, I felt like it was stilted in many places. It was not “fitting.” The author either rambled off into details/thought processes or did too much “telling.”

I could not lose myself into the world of this book; the writing style, alternative plotline and voice just weren’t for me. They kept distracting me. And…main point: the characters. I never got to know the true personalities of the characters. Their stories, especially that of Next-One-A-Girl (the name drew me in, nice touch), could have been heartbreakingly emotional. But they weren’t. They were all kind of flat.

The premise of the book seemed very intriguing. But I never got into the actually story. So much of it felt unbalanced. And it’s not because it’s for a younger age group. Apparently it’s marketed to “Mature Young Adult” on Litpick. I don’t know how other readers will find this book.

Remember, this review is just my own opinion.

***eBook provided by Litpick.com in exchange for my honest review

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On My Reading, Writing and Life Palette: Am I Overbooked For the Summer?

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Reading List (28 titles I am currently too lazy to type up):

  1. 17 Netgalley books
  2. 5 library books
  3. 1 Litpick book that I should really get to soon because I want to finish it and then request a possible little gem of a story…
  4. 3 books won from Figment
  5. 2 books I ordered from Amazon

It’s the summer between high school and college. I don’t have a lot to do (except for all that paperwork and testing stuff I’m putting off till the last minute)…But it’s also the first time I’ve actually done a 9 to 5. Also, my parental units hold highly the concept of chores and family time. 

My dear friends, the lovely Inkspelt and the wonderful bluelazuli are both summer interns too (at different places)… But you see, the other day I compared my schedule with Inkspelt’s. And it appears that my parents are quite on board with the “chores” and “long dinnertime” parenting platform. So my free time every day starts at around 8 to 8:15. 

And my mother wonders why I read so late into the night. I need to! To keep my sanity. 

I’m also becoming very devoted to this blog, much like my dear Tumblr counterpart snowraindrops. This new devotion could be the source of my wavering presence on Figment. I’ve been less active on my Figment account. There was a time when, regardless of tests and homework, I’d feel obligated to enter every flash-fiction contest. Now my 8-month long obsession with Figment seems to be wearing off. Figment definitely helped me polish the conciseness of my writing, and quite literally forced me to practice writing “sweet and short.”

Also there’s the NaNoWriMo Camp coming up in July. Alongside my fellow reviewers, Inkspelt and bluelazuli, I really want to do it. I want to write again. 

Some of my art buddies are painting masterpieces, finding inspiration in the nooks and crannies of their summer minds… I need to paint, too. But also… I need to exercise, I need to swim, I need to go to the library, I need to volunteer, I need to get a parttimer, I need to see my friends, I need to organize my closet, I need to spend time with the younger sibling, I need to start multiple blogs, I need to enter contests, I need to submit to journals/anthologies I can now submit to now that I’m almost 18, and most of all: I need to write. 

What’s wrong with me? I’m weeks from turning 18 and I haven’t moved an inch towards that ink dream. 

How do I find time? By reading less? Blogging less?

Or perhaps it’s just a lack of creative spirit. I always thought summer was the best time for an aspiring novel to bloom. Perhaps not. 

This was an extremely erratic blog post. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think. Have you faced similar issues before? How do you writers find time to write? How do you shift into the creative mode from the “reality” mode?

 

 

Update: Books on My Review List

All from Netgalley except for the last one (litpick):

  1. Whistling Past the Graveyard (adult fiction set in 1963, from a 9-year-old girl’s POV)
  2. Abandon Book 3: Awaken (YA fiction/paranormal romance by Meg Cabot, 3rd book in a Persephone-retelling trilogy. I did swear I would never ever read a paranormal romance again after I was too fed up with them — I’ve never liked one. But I reviewed the 1st book about three years ago, so we’ll see)
  3. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself (self-help book that builds on principles of science)
  4. Aimless Love (a collection of poems by Billy Collins)
  5. Carniepunk (an anthology of steampunk carnival stories filled with darkness)
  6. Born to Blog (well, seeing as I’m just starting to blog, this should help…)
  7. The Boy Who Could See Demons (adult fiction, psychological thriller about a little boy who, well, can see demons)
  8. For the Good of Mankind (YA/teens, about the misuse of science and human experimentation)
  9. The Scroll of Years (adult fantasy/science fiction)

Book Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (3.5/5)

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Earth Girl, set hundreds of years in the future, offers a stunning vision of humanity’s future. We can regrow limbs, we have marvelous technology, and we have colonized many other planets. In a matter of seconds, we can transport between these planets in a matter of seconds through special portals…. All except for the taboo “apes,” humans who were born without the immune system needed to survive on other planets. They are abandoned at birth on Earth.

Confined to Earth and rejected by the majority of humanity, “ape” girl Jarra makes an impulsive and courageous decision upon turning 18. She’s fed up with the feelings of rejection that come with being an “ape.” And she’s going to prove that “apes” are just as human as everyone else.

Going undercover under a covert identity, Jarra begins attending a different school and pretends she’s normal. As she discovers more about herself and her classmates, her search for identity takes twists and turns. Weaving in elements of science fiction, a coming-of-age journey and romance, Edwards tells a compelling story.

Personally, I enjoyed reading Earth Girl. Edwards has built a fascinating vision of the future, perhaps with an undertone of warning about human disposition towards prejudice and judgment. The world building, characterization and action scenes were the strong points of Earth Girl. However, some of the plot turns seem less developed. In addition, there are areas where the author “tells” rather than “shows.” I felt like Earth Girl, being aimed at the teen audience, could have been more technical with regards to the science and technology elements. In many ways, the author simplified emotions, themes, and society. The novel could potentially have been much more than it is, and I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.

Overall, Earth Girl was a action-packed pageturner…with interesting futuristic curse words. But most of all, the message of Earth Girl is something I really appreciate. I recommend this book to the YA audience, even those who may not be solid science fiction readers. Although Earth Girl didn’t make my personal Favorites shelf, I will be on the lookout for Janet Edwards’ future writings! 3.5/5

***eBook courtesy of LitPick.com in exchange for my honest review