Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Review: Simon Myth
Simon Myth by Matt Posner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In my review of the third book in this series, I complained that the series was deteriorating, and expressed the hope that it would improve again before I quit it in disgust. I'm glad to say that, although this book still has issues, I enjoyed it more than the previous one, and it does address some of the problems of the previous volume.
The editing is still patchy. There are a lot of typos, some misplaced punctuation, and the odd homonym error (some of which may themselves be typos, like sun/son, but heckling/haggling is obviously just the wrong word). I've seen a lot worse, but it's a little distracting.
There are still continuity errors. A garment of lion skins turns into a garment of bear skins in the course of a couple of pages.
There are shifts in storytelling style, and scenes or paragraphs out of chronological order for no seemingly good reason. There are unforeshadowed uses of magic that would be less jarring if they were foreshadowed. There is a very large family in which the kinship terms are badly confused. There are a lot of Yiddish and Hindi words dropped in without explanation or translation, which makes whole sections of the book hard to follow.
One of my big concerns in the previous book, though, was that Simon, the main character, was becoming a violent, heartless person with little discipline in his use of far-too-strong magic. While I wouldn't say that concern has been completely removed, this book does go some way towards addressing it and restoring Simon to a more admirable heroic character. I also wouldn't say that he's learned his lesson, exactly, but he has the potential to have learned his lesson, about violence and also about love.
Ah, love. Simon, as a teenager, believes in each book that the current object of his affections is the perfect person for him, whom he will love forever. This is, of course, not actually the case, as he must repeatedly and painfully discover. Now that I see the trend, I can take the references to the "perfection" of the annoying, unstable Ana in the previous book as the teenage exaggeration that it is.
With those two big imperfections out of the way, the small imperfections don't do as much to bring down my enjoyment of what is, in fact, a good series. The characters are interesting, the plots are compelling and the setting is engaging. I just wish that a good developmental editor and a good proofreader were involved.
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