Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Asulon 4: Weak points

There aren't that many problems in William McGrath's Asulon.

Topical harangues. Preachiness isn't a real problem. Concentrating too much on the topics of the moment is. We have nods to term limits and something like the Fair Tax early on, for example. That's all very clever, but an author should focus better and remember that topical references get old fast.

Info dumps. These are hard to avoid, but some of them are a bit long. I generally find that dialog is better than pulling out a book and beginning to read, which actually occurs twice. Also, since this uses an omniscient viewpoint, we could simply watch some of the events unfold free of charge.

Abrupt ending. It's a bad sign when you reach the end and turn the page expecting at least another few paragraphs. The ending here is as sudden as an invisible brick wall on a freeway.

Editing. The editing could be better. Unfortunately, these days that's true of practically anything in print.

Sidebar: "Etruscan." I considered mentioning this yesterday, but only a language geek would notice. The "Etruscan" is in fact mangled Latin. I don't consider this a problem, however, for a couple reasons:

1. Although Etruscan wasn't even related to Latin, the Etruscan civilization dominated the area where Rome and Latin eventually came to power. The goal is evidently to invoke Rome indirectly. I can live with that.

2. The author clearly likes playing with words anyway. Toward the end of the story, he conflates "Nephilim" and "Rephaim" into "Rephalim," for example. Again, it's tolerable.

The positives strongly outweigh the negatives, and I look forward to the remaining two books. There are some good points here, and perhaps getting a fresh perspective on what has become a stale genre will provoke people to think about alternatives to the opinions they've been taught to consider practically on a par with Scripture.

Participating Blog links:
The Christian Fiction Review Blog
A Frank Review
Susan Kirkland
Melissa Meeks @ Bibliophile's Retreat
Geralyn Beauchamp @ The Time Mistress
Cathi Hassan @ Cathi's Chatter
Caprice Hokstad @ Queen of Convolution

1 comment:

cathikin said...

As always, you do a thorough review. I was wondering what an Etrusacan was but was too lazy to look it up. It was lurking back in the attic of my mind under cobwebs of disuse.

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