Thursday, 23 April 2009

Collision of Angels: Michael Carver

When Tony Campbell accepts his father-in-law's invitation to chat, he braces himself for yet another of Silas Jackson's ambitious business schemes. But even in his wildest imagination, Tony couldn't have prepared himself for what Silas proposes this time: a run for the United States presidency. In the wake of recent controversial elections, Silas and his colleagues fear America is being run by the few and has turned its back on God. Their remedy: attempt to put a man of faith into the White House. This crusade proves to be the ultimate challenge however, and Tony finds himself facing his greatest test of faith ever. What appears to be a battle between church and state in the human realm is gradually revealed to have far higher stakes --- with ramifications that echo throughout eternity. People on both sides of the aisle will recognise intriguing arguments in this novel and will doubtlessly be waiting for Collision of Angels to continue.

Collision of Angels has it all—if you're looking for the mistakes that new writers make.

I found clich├ęs (including several in the back cover copy), confusing constructions, and point-of-view switches so frequent and so swift that at times I found it impossible to work out which character's head I was meant to be in, even with repeated re-readings. Then there was the repeated use of exposition; and the chapter which begins with the words "six months later" then on the following page abruptly switches to a story which happened "nearly twenty years ago". While it's fine to time-slip on occasion, it has to be done a little more carefully than that.

Add to all of that character who sometimes has a severe stammer, but who can sometimes speak more fluently than I can, and it's no wonder that I read just six of the 428 pages that this overlong book contains.


Barb said...

This could have been quite a good story. What a pity they didn't get a beta review, or maybe consult a few texts on writing.

Like the cover though.

Jane Smith said...

Barb, like so many other books I've looked at here, this book had the potential to be good: but it was published long before it was ready to appear in print.

It needs a lot more revision and thought put into it to make it really readable. It makes me realise just how valuable an ally a good editor is.

Paige said...

After reading the post, I was just about to say the same thing that Barb said.

It's already been said, so I'll just add my echoing agreement - it has the potential to be good, just, as you say, needs a good editor.

Jane Smith said...

Paige, thank you. As with so many self-published books, this one is in desperate need of revision, and could have been good if the writer had taken his work a little further before publishing it. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

I want to agree with this site but I find it kind of sucky that you RAPE books publicly then admit you only read a few pages. That sucks. You would have my full permission to skin them alive if you weren't so lazy. I agree that most self-published books bite and bite badly, but this is like beating up on a Jerry's kids. I can promise you this, PUBLISHED authors have agents and editors who clean up their work for them. I know these books suck but considering you only read a few pages of this book I find the fact that you are naming this book publicly to be pretty shameless and unprofessional considering that you have not even attempted to read it.

Anonymous said...

"None of them have yet been published."

These are your words describing your own books. NONE of which have been published. You, haven't even left the gate yet and you are criticizing writers? I bet you have stacks of rejections from REAL agents and publishers though.

Jane Smith said...

And in turn, I find it "kind of sucky" that Anonymous is prepared to be very hostile to me, but isn't prepared to own his words by posting under his real name.

I don't go looking for books to review: they are all sent to me as a result of the authors approaching me, and offering me a review copy. I make no secret of how I work: if writers don't like it, they don't have to submit.

Anonymous's objection to my only reading a few pages means that he's missing the whole point of my review: I used to be an editor at a mainstream publishing house. So I read these books as if they were submissions: if they are good enough to hold my interest, then I read them to the end and review them pretty fully; if they are not good enough (and I give them more chances than most editors or agents would), then I explain why they failed in my review here.

As for what's good enough: it depends. I note everything that would cause an editor to reject a manuscript, from frequent errors in punctuation to dull or confusing writing. Most books fail on a combination of those things, but there's usually a tendency to one main issue (like an over-reliance on exposition; poor punctuation or spelling; head-hopping) which I try to point out here.

Next time you post here, Anon, do please have the guts to use your own name. Oh, and who on earth is Jerry, and why are you so worried about his kids?

Jane Smith said...

Anon--sorry, I missed that second post of yours.

You're misquoting me, I'm afraid: none of my novels have yet been published, but then I've only submitted two and many writers write a few before finding a publisher for them. I'm not too concerned, and am confident that I'll find a publisher for my novels soon.

However, plenty of my non-fiction (about 20 books, and a few hundred articles), poetry and short stories have; then there are all the books I've edited: there are plenty out there. I make my living as a writer. Just so you know.

Nancy Beck said...

Just in case Jane or anyone else was wondering..."Jerry's kids" refers to Jerry Lewis and his support of helping kids with muscular dystrophy. I don't know if it's on TV anymore, but there used to be a day-long telethon for money.

Love your blog.

Jane Smith said...

Nancy, thanks for clearing that up. Providing honest reviews for a few mostly-dreadful books is nothing like committing acts of violence on children with congenital diseases, and to suggest otherwise is distasteful in the extreme.

I'm glad you like the blog, by the way. It's quiet over here, but my main blog (How Publishing Really Works) is much more active. I hope to see you over there too.