Every Friday I review of a free or under $2.99 ebook in hopes of finding a proverbial “diamond in the rough!”
Hawthorn Inn by Heidi Willard is about some kid who gets moved to a creepy old Inn to hang with his grandad. I don’t actually know.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
For a free YA novel on smashwords it has attractive cover art. The jacket blurb failed to include anything about superpowers, vampires, or a rebellion, so that was a big selling point for me. The summary was vague, but sounded promising and exciting.
I was also secretly hoping the title somehow made reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I stopped on page 10, a few paragraphs into chapter two. Specifically, I found the task of visuallizing how one character could have “stepped angrily” (I’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but can you wear your heart on your heel?). I actually laughed out loud and couldn’t cope with the silliness.
I try not to use the word “sophomoric” (because I find it sophomoric) but there isn’t a much better word to describe this author’s writing–using transitive verbs as intransitive verbs, overusing adverbs, word repitition, poor sentence structure–it lacks polish and worse, it belies ignorance.
And it’s a shame because Willard is a much better storyteller than she is a writer; she’s even a better storyteller than most. Within the first two pages she introduces two distinct, likeable background characters, makes their dialogue beleivable, and through them plants a hook as to the intrigue behind the eponymous inn.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
This would be a decent book if the author spent more time editing, getting beta readers, and honing her craft. Also a little brushing up on the rules of the written english language never hurt anyone either.
Another issue presents itsself in that, as a YA book, this novel poses a threat to YA readers’ education if they take her grammatical errors as correct.
I feel Willard released this novel before she was ready. Since this is the first of five novels, her technique is bound to get better.
Anybody read this one? Tell me what you think in the comments!