Echoes: Catalyst

We are all monsters, demons who have fallen from grace. Our faces drag amongst the soil as we inhale the bitterness of this world. There is no end to our sorrow as the gnashing of teeth plays on. We are the fear that fills your veins, we are the darkness, we are inescapable. 

Every family has its secrets, darkness that remains buried deep within the family tree. It feeds off of your fears, temptations and those silent thoughts that plague your mind. Nothing of life grows from it, for its only footprint is destruction and decay. It echoes through time until someone somewhere decides to take a stand.

Genre

YA/ Science Fiction & Fantasy

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 5

The cover is well designed but offers no insight into the content. Think of it as a physical bookstore; often, a reader will pick a book strictly from its cover and jacket blurbs. It is only after you reach the mid-point in the story that the cover intimates the content.

Book Blurb Score: 5

While intriguing to the reader with a more formal vocabulary, the book blurb is stiff and awkward. For example, "Our faces drag amongst the soil as we inhale the bitterness of this world" is prosaic but does nothing to truly hook the reader. Blurbs are, after all, the hook before we 'crack the spine'. Suggested hook rewrite: We are the monsters that haunt your world. We drag ourselves through the dirt to breathe in your bitterness; it feeds us. 

Formatting Score: 10

With a few exceptions, the book was well formatted for e-readers.

Grammar & Spelling Score: 5

The tenses are often mixed within the same sentence (i.e., past with present), several spelling errors are found, and the voice is inconsistent (e.g., third-person v. first person)

Plot & Structure Score: 10

The plot and structure are linear enough to be readable without too much confusion. The author does a fine job of notifying the reader when we find ourselves in a flashback mode so we aren't dizzied by following a vague map to find our location in the story.

Character Development Score: 5

Character development lacks work. In order to be a loyal reader of a particular author, one must connect with and emotionally care about their outcome (either good or bad). Despite every effort, I did not find myself caring about the central character's well being and this makes for a forgettable read. Think: The Stand by Stephen King; his character development is so detailed, the reader remembers names, situations, and outcomes long after the last page is read. It takes work to develop 3 dimensional characters but, for we writers, it's the difference between doing the job and doing it well. Exception: Hanna's father was identifiable as a father everyone would love to have.

Originality Score: 5

There is little originality in Echoes; I find a patchwork of 'borrowed' ideas, unoriginal monsters, and ended up in a predictable resolution. On occasion, however, I was taken by surprise by the beauty of a concept written in near poetic resonance. For example, "This book had remained clean as if its usage was still relevant amongst a sea of forgotten thought."

Pacing Score: 5

Pacing was irregular, in some places rapid, others depicting aspects that contributed little to the story arch or plot.

Use of Language Score: 5

There is a lot of awkward and stilted language in this book. The writer would better connect with the readers by using informal, conversational-type language. For example, amidst, while a legitimate word, is a flow deterrent when reading a fiction book. Some examples: "My father held within his grasp...", ...the darkness...engulfed within itself..." and "...as we made haste."

Overall Readability Score: 7

The writer has real potential. As a published author myself, my best feedback is to trust your instincts, read as much as you can, and stay up with current style, preferences, and language changes. 

This book received a critic's score of 70 out of 100 possible points.

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