I received a copy of The Ice Twins from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I want to make it clear before I start that I'm not trying to rip the book to shreds and I'm not purposely being mean. Yes, this is a very negative review but the book was extremely frustrating to read, and I just want to get that across and give some clear examples so you can understand my frustration.
I had to give up on this one. I just couldn't take it anymore. I have never before felt like throwing my kindle across the room in frustration, but this book had me wanting to do just that.
It's a shame because the premise sounded so interesting and I think without all the problems, I could have really enjoyed it. Instead I found myself getting more and more frustrated with every paragraph. Eventually I just threw my kindle down in disgust. I was at the point of thinking to myself... If I see one more *#!$*#! dash, colon or semi-colon, I swear I'm going to hit something.
I was provided with an ARC to review from the publisher, so I thought hmm maybe it's because I have a review copy. Off I went to Amazon, had a little peek inside the book. Yeah, it's not because I have an ARC, have a peek you can see for yourself. And it gets worse the further into the book you get, they seem to be multiplying like rabbits.
On top of the issues with the dashes, colons and semi-colons, there is way too much telling rather than showing. I want to visualise and picture everything in my mind. The writing also lacks flow, it's over punctuated and choppy. I'm honestly not exaggerating at all, the whole book is written this way. Every paragraph and sentence is structured, punctuated and in the format of the examples given.
A few examples:
Angus Moorcroft parked outside the Selkie Hotel, climbed from his cheap, tinny rental car - hired last night at Inverness Airport - and gazed across the mudflats, and the placid waters, to Torran.
With a hand shielding the sun, Angus squinted at his family's new home. But a second car disturbed his thoughts - squealing to a stop, and parking. An old blue Renault.
His friend Josh Freedland got out, wearing a chunky Arran jumper, and jeans faintly floured with the dust of granite, or slate, or marble.
I gaze at the elegant houses across the street; the parked cars glinting under the streetlights. The twilight is now complete. The sky is clear. I can see all the many plane lights circling London, like little red sparks: rising from a vast and invisible fire.
They'd spent an epic weekend drinking too much, laughing too much, being obnoxious and loud, annoying the locals - and having enormous fun. They'd sculled back from the Selkie in the sweet, violet, Scottish summer gloaming: the twilight that never went totally black. Seals had emerged: perpendicular, and observing them. 'Junkie overboard' was born from on spectacularly intoxicated episode, when Josh, completely mashed on Ecstasy, had tried to embrace one of these seals, then fallen in the cold black water - at maybe 11 p.m.
"Seriously, Gus, at night - after civil twilight - you don't want to cross those mudflats."
"In Skye, no one can hear you scream: half the houses along the shore are empty. Holiday Homes. In winter the tide will come in, cold and lethal: you'd drown."
Angus pressed on: "So, you mentioned, on the phone, the tides. This afternoon?" Josh glanced at the receding sea, then back at Angus. "I emailed you a link earlier: official Mallaig tide tables, with all the details." "Haven't had a chance to check: on the go since breakfast."
Then there are the cases where instead of over-telling, the author just throws in information in a totally random way...
"The cool sunny wind tousled his ginger Jewish hair."
Is ginger Jewish hair different from normal ginger hair? Or is just his hair Jewish and the rest of him something else? Or is he Jewish? What is the author saying here? I am guessing this is their way of letting me know the character is Jewish and if that is the case, why not just tell me he's Jewish?
The dialogue isn't very natural, you can see that from the above samples, but there is also the use of lots of OK, No and Yes, together.
My throat is numbed, "OK," I repeat. "OK I see."
"Thus, for instance, she has worked to become a better reader, to fill that gap. I'm not a child psychologist - but, as I understand it, this might not be unusual." "No. No. Yes."
This happens a lot throughout the book. Then there are things like...
"And it was pretty abrupt. But really, these things happen all the time, she's only seven, your daughter, fairly young for her year."
I know, and the characters know, that they are talking about her daughter. So why the "your daughter" reminder? You don't need to keep giving me reminders throughout the book in this way, it makes the dialogue come across as very unnatural.
I apologise for the length of this review and for it sounding rather ranty. I should perhaps have waited for the frustration to wear off before typing it out but never the less, here it is in all it's glory.
Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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