Friday, March 16, 2012

DNF Review: Elemental: The First

by Alexandra May
Age Recommendation: Young Adult
Paperback, 280 pages
Published July 22nd 2011 by Pauma Publishing
Series: Primord Series, Book 1

Summary (from Goodreads):
Just who is Halíka Dacomé?

To Rose Frost, moving house every six months is normal. Another new town here, another new school there, her ability to adapt is as easy as breathing. But everything changes when her parents go overseas and Rose moves in with her grandmother. She enjoys meeting new friends and catching up with old ones from her childhood holidays — except now she must hide a precious secret from everyone, a gift from birth that defies modern day science.

Her dreams become riddled with a warrior woman called Halíka Dacomé, but are they visions or messages from the future? She starts her own investigation but encounters more questions than answers. Living right on the edge of Warminster in Wiltshire doesn’t help with its folklore and myths about strange lights in the sky and ghost stories of the Salisbury Plain.

Not only that, her troubles really take hold one night when the mysterious Aiden Deverill with his alluring smile, his gorgeous dark looks and hypnotising blue eyes, saves her from a freak fire. Or did he?

For Rose, her new life is beginning but she soon realises that despite assurances people are not always what they seem. What she always believed to be a happy family and a friendly town soon turns on its head when she discovers that her family secret, Aiden Deverill and the truth behind Halíka Dacomé is at the heart of the whole conspiracy.

N.B. I only got through 15 pages of Elemental: The First. I cannot speak about the entire book, only the section I read.

I must begin with a disclaimer: I rarely, rarely DNF books. Nearly always, I struggle through to the end of a book even if I am not enjoying it. In this case, however, I don't think I can get any further.

I am in a bit of a reading slump right now, and this was not the book to get me out of it. I have been putting off reading Elemental: The First since September and I don't think I can postpone it any more. I will just have to say that this is not the book for me.

The beginning reads much like a creative writing project. There is an overuse of adjectives and an overuse of similes, and even the first line is a little bit awkward: “The cavernous room was windowless.” Somehow that line seems strange, like the words don’t quite fit together. Much of the first few pages felt similar.

What really got to me, however, was the minor mistakes in grammar and punctuation. I stopped on page 15 because I couldn't take any more misused commas (there are 4 examples on pages 14 and 15) or incorrect verb/subject agreement (such as on page 15). The mistakes are, admittedly, all very minor, but  I am the type of person who gets distracted  and even frustrated by a misplaced comma (and who would notice a misplaced comma), so it was difficult for me to immerse myself in the text.

The plot, however, even from the few pages I read is very intriguing - and I'm sure I haven't even gotten to the interesting part yet. If the writing had been a little bit more polished and the copyediting more thorough, I think I would have really enjoyed the story.

Overall Thoughts: I'd love to come back to Elemental: The First at some other time, but right now, every page is a struggle, and I need to read something else.


Small Review said...

Proper grammar is SO important! It tells you how to read a sentence, and if it's giving you the wrong cues then your reading doesn't flow at all. It's extra annoying when you're already in a reading rut. Bummer :( I hope your next book clicks with you more!

BTW, I'm still totally up for the Cinder review. Did you ever get my response?

Pica said...

I agree! I'm the type of person to be totally nitpicky about grammar, and although one or two mistakes are fun to spot, too many are very off-putting. Thankfully, the next book I read, The Humming Room, was excellent (and with no grammar mistakes to be found :D). I don't think I'm quite out of my slump yet, but I'm certainly getting there.

And yes, I'm still on board for the Cinder review. I let it slide down my to-do list a bit when you were out of town, but I've now finished my 2nd round thoughts. I'll email you tomorrow (Monday) about it.

Alexandra May said...

Hi there!
Thank you for your comments and I'm sorry you didn't get to finish it.
I remember sending you an early edition around August last year.
The book has been re-edited since then and all previous typos have been rectified.
I'm happy to send you another copy if you'd like to give it another go at a later date.
With kind regards
Alexandra May


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