Friday, April 30, 2010

The Retching

On Wednesday I picked up the conclusion to a series I’ve reviewed here. The Summoning and The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong had me re-thinking my aversion for Canadian writers, to read the review click here. The final book The Reckoning had me hoping for the same good reads the first two books had given me. Boy, was I wrong.

First to the title, The Reckoning, this gives me images of Chloe and her friends getting back at the Edison Group for all that they’ve done to them, for all that they’ve lost, for all the people the Edison Group has killed. The last page in The Awakening has Chloe talking about sabotage and bringing the Edison Group down. I don’t think Chloe could bring down a Janga tower. Grrrrrrrrr!

This book started with promise. Chloe finds spirits in the safe house they are staying in. A safe house owned by other supernaturals who want to bring down the Edison group as well. The spirit is crazy, we find out this spirit is connected to the original owner of the house. Turns out the owner of the house (can’t remember his name because I’m too pissed off) wanted to kill all supernaturals. The problem is that this guy was the founder of the resistance group Chloe and her friends are shacked up with. Turns out things aren’t what they seem and now the gang needs to run away from the house and the supernaturals they thought they could trust. They wait for an appropriate time to run, and they wait, and they wait, and they wait. Grrrrrr! Hey I know, how about the huge Werewolf kid knocks the one guy who stands in their way, out with…I don’t know, any blunt object that can be found in a house…say a frying pan for example, and get on with it!! The odds are in their favor, four to one, if fact. But no, they do the equivalent of picking their noses and get captured by the Edison group, YET AGAIN!!!!!
The little voice of optimism pops up in my mind. “Stella, stop clutching the book so tight. You’ll rip it. Stop twitching too, I’m sure the author will wrap this train wreck up well.”

Stella gets contrite. “Oh really, little voice of optimism? You think so? ‘Cause I was just about to use this book for kindling!”

“Easy now, Stella. Put faith in your fellow Canuck. You have only recently found the faith. Stella, put down the foam missile gun!”

“What did you just call me?”

"Huh? I-I called you a Canuck.” Little voice of optimism remembers she is in Edmonton, in the Oilers stronghold and squeaks out the response. “Please forgive me.”

Stella narrows her eyes and clutches her foam missile gun. “I’m no Canuck and neither is Kelley Armstrong.” Stella looks down at the book in her hands, “She’s probably a Leaf’s fan.” Stella throws the book across the kitchen and the little voice of optimism vanishes.

Stella picks the book off the floor. “I’ll give you another chance Kelley, but only because our teams didn’t make it to the playoffs, unlike those vile Cunucks!”

Ahem…where was I? Ah, yes, The Reckoning. In reality the book was progressing with much promise until Chloe and her gaggle of supernatural misfits gets taken back to the Edison group. Then things happened in such rapid succession and in such random ridiculousness that I’m insulted as a reader that I’m supposed to take such a mangled disjointed ending and be satisfied with it. Are you effing kidding me? Chloe enlists the help of a demi-demon (big bad stuff here) she pretty much makes a quick deal with the devil to free the demi-demon if she will help her and her friends escape. This added great tension, how was it going to end, I wondered. The demi-demon saves Chloe and disappears. WTF!! Then Derik busts in to help save them all only to have everyone end up hiding in a storage closet waiting to escape from the…what was it called again (leafs through book to find the name) oh, yes. *enter scared voice* The Cabal SWAT team.


Yeah, that’s right, THE Cabal SWAT team. Ooooooooooooo!!!!

Now if you’re wondering how this SWAT team fits into the story line, you’re not alone. Kelley Armstrong introduces the big bad SWAT team only to have the ceiling collapse on them and Chloe and her gang avoiding running into them altogether. WTF!! Then Chloe kills the main guy by controlling the dead and the story gives us seven pages for a butchered ending that does little in tying up lose ends.

Chloe doesn’t talk to her father to let him know she’s alive. Doesn't tell us why the stone Chloe wears has changed color. Doesn't find out what this Cabal group was all about. Doesn’t send the letter she had promised the ghost. Doesn’t find out about the madness that eventually affects necromancers like her. Doesn’t find out if the friend who betrayed her in the last book is okay, or feeling guilty at all. Doesn’t let her two friends know that they are actually brother and sister. Doesn’t talk about the physiological ramifications about killing someone. AND, doesn’t know what is going to happen to her.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Hello!!!! This was supposed to be the end of a trilogy! End! FINI! FINITO! BUENAS NOCHES!! CABO! FINAL! TERMINO! ACABAR! CONCLUIR-SE! TERMINAR!! FINALIZAR!! …I think you get the idea…

I’ve read that this is how Kelley Armstrong likes to end books so that she can loop characters into other books of hers. I DON”T CARE!! This was poor execution on her part that makes this reader never want to pick up another one of her books again, even though I bought about ten of them. They were on sale at Chapters so I thought why not. Damn you Chapters!! Damn you!!

The only two redeeming things about this book is that we get to see that Chloe ends up with the guy she should have all along. And it wasn’t the perfect hot guy like most YA MCs go for. But the two of them get interrupted at least twenty times by different characters, I’m surprised they even got to know each other’s names. Grrrrrr!!!! The other is that Chloe comes into her own and matures quite a bit, and stops being the pushover she’s been in the previous two books.

I give this book two stars out of ten. The ending could have saved this book, but instead it made everything worse, and made me mad.

P.S.- Yes I’m in my pajamas. Don’t judge me. LOL! ;) I stayed up till 2:30am reading THAT book. I’m tired, I’m cranky, and now I have to wash the soup bowl in the picture from last night. *Simmer*

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Query Letters and Other Forms of Torture

I have revised this query letter dozens of times. I've sent many versions to literary agents all over North America with out a single positive response. Yup, you guessed it. My query letters sucked.

For those of you who don't know, a query letter is something a writer sends to literary agents and publishers. It is based on this one-paged letter that the author must sell his/her story. If the author does a good job of writing this letter, it will entice the agent/publisher to request sample chapters from the manuscript the author is attempting to sell. If the agent/publisher likes those sample chapters (usually three chapters) they will request a full manuscript. If they like the manuscript-and if the author has the luck and odds of a lottery winner-the agent will represent them, or the publisher will publish. Many publishers-especially the big ones will not even consider reading a letter from an author that is not represented by a literary agent. Then the agent does this same process when searching for a publisher on the authors behalf.

If this letter is poorly written, the author will receive a form rejection letter. What is a form rejection letter you ask? Well, here is one such letter copied and pasted here for your benefit.

Thank you for querying us regarding your manuscript. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we have decided to pass on this project. Thank you for considering our agency for representation.

Yup, a form rejection letter tells you about as much as a mime. Form rejection letters get irritating, fast. I should know, I've received tons of them. Can't say I blame them. Agents receive hundreds of query letters a day. Hard to personalize that many letters.

After discovering a very helpful blog: Query Shark , I know what I have been doing wrong this whole time. I was too focused on telling the reader what I thought the premise of the book was instead of focusing on the characters struggles. The characters are the reason a person wants to read a novel, and I had given the characters a backseat to what I thought the novel was about. This can make the delivery of the story sound preachy, which is a fate worse than a Lindsay Lowhan career death. *shudder* Rest assured, I have learned from mine and Lindsay's mistakes.

I have written a new letter, one that focuses on the character's conflict.

Now all I have to do is finish editing the novel and write a synopsis. *presses hands to sides of face and screams until the neighbors complain*

For those of you who don't know how horrible writing a synopsis is, see this post. I never did end up writing a synopsis yet. I must save that torture for another day.

Duh duh DAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

Stella out!

All stories and poems posted are
Copyright © 2009 by Stella Telleria
All rights reserved.