Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Read: Jan 2, 2010
Summary: Easy read, but needs editing badly.
I’ve been doing research on publishing for the last year. I’ll have to write a separate post about the changing nature of the biz, it’s relationship to other publishing businesses (like video games), and the rise of the self published ebook author. But in any case, I stumbled upon this independent and self published author who is selling very well (mostly on Amazon) with no prior print history. I figured I’d check one out. Switched appears to be her best seller and she says on her blog that it’s her favorite.
This is a funny little paranormal romance about a girl whose mother hates her and thinks she’s a changeling — but she is. In fact she’s a troll. She’s then dragged off to her real mother. The first 25% is slightly “high school novel,” and the later 75% “fish out of water.”
Overall, I’m not sure what to make of the book. The first person voice was strangely engaging and I pounded through it easy in an afternoon. Still, it felt like a first (or maybe second draft), and it’s full of flaws.
According to her website the author has roughly ten novels, mostly written in 2010 and she pounds out the first drafts 2-4 weeks! I consider myself fast at 2,500-4,000 words a day of first draft, but I have to admire that kind of lightning pace. The book was short. Maybe 50-60k words and it could perhaps be classified as “engaging” but could’ve been “really fun read” with some real editing.
There is a crazy amount of “tell,” in this book. A lot of it buried in the overzealous volume of interior monologue. Characters are constantly attributed characteristics directly, without them being shown. Often, these characteristics are never shown. The protagonist gives the straight dope on things as she sees it, but this often feels more like how the author wants the reader to see it than how it really is. In fact, there isn’t a whole lot of “show” in the book at all.
The author is a solid writer. The sentences themselves are well formed, but a lot of them needed to come out, or be trimmed down. Conversations are redundant. Dialog points are redundant. The author loves the words creepy and foxy. Really loves creepy. The important scenes feel drained of emotion as the excessive interior monologue and somewhat forced dialog rob the moments of any real drama. The more casual conversations feel better than the important ones. When there’s action it’s awkwardly blocked, so that you have to go back and reread lines sometimes to figure out what happened physically. The overall plot is pretty straightforward. The end was abrupt and unsatisfying too.
But still. I can’t say it didn’t have a certain charm. I enjoyed reading it, more than many published POCs (like for instance Personal Demons). The fantasy concept is decent and didn’t bug me.
Of course the novel only cost 99 cents! The writing is probably on par with Twilight (see my review HERE). Not that that’s high praise. It just needs a lot of revision. Some plot changes to increase drama, character tune-ups, and most of all line editing (see my detailed post on that HERE).
This is an Indy book. It’s professional, but it’s also the novel equivalent of a B movie. Written quickly, revised quickly, and sold cheaply. The author has enough talent to shoot higher.