Mar 23, 2011

Cut, but not bleeding

Did not make the latest cut of the Amazon Contest, but the two reviews were helpful, and appreciated. Even the less favorable review was complimentary:

Very good descriptions. From the beginning scene with the violence (which, admittedly, I didn't love, but it was very vivid) to the descriptions of the house, the author does a great job setting his/her scenes and making them come alive in the reader's mind.

Thank you, Vine Reviewers.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The best aspect of this story was the author's ability to create a nice sibling dynamic with the Driscoll children. Eleanor, Jack, Rob and Flora were all easy to relate to and really fun to read about.

I liked the set-up to the story too. You could practically feel the excitement as the kids explored their new mansion.

I loved that the author gave EACH character a bit of personality. Even the parents, who barely have any "page time" in the story are fleshed out. The father is a research scientist who has discovered a new anti-viral drug that will apparently change the course of medicine and has therefore given the family a boat load of money to afford their new home. The mother is caring and has created the perfect environment for her kids to live in by transforming the once cold and dreary home into a comfy, cozy place to live.

The kids are all unique and individual. Rob, the eldest, is kind and nurturing. He leads his siblings with ease. Jack is whimsical and adventurous. Flora is bursting with eight-year old exuberance and our (seemingly) main character Eleanor is sarcastic and witty. I liked all of the people in this story.

I found myself wanting to continue on with the story because of the fast-paced prose and the loveable characters.

What aspect needs the most work?

I loved this entry and couldn't really find anything wrong with it. I think the author could have taken his/her time with getting the kids to the cave that they discover the carved riddle in. It seemed a LITTLE rushed. One second we are on a beach collecting crabs, the next we are in a cave reading an ancient riddle on an irridescent wall? It felt a bit too fast for me. But, it still worked.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I really enjoyed this entry. It was one of my favorites of the YA selections I have read. The pacing was perfect for a young person. Kids will relish every second of this. The characters are diverse and easy to like. The kids weren't bratty or annoying in any way, which was a relief. It seems like most of the characters in YA novels these days are either too whiney or too exhausting to care about.

All four of the Driscoll children are well mannered and seem to really enjoy eachother's company, which is rare with siblings in novels. I liked that they had a unity about them.

I also loved the fantasy element that we are introduced to in the beginning of the story. A dwarf being killed by some sort of monster?! What was the mysterious object he released in his final moments of life?

Also, who did the voice in the cave that spoke to the children belong to? I was eager to find out!

I really loved this YA entry! Very fast, easy and fun read. Kids will love this one.