Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Review: First Year

First Year First Year by Rachel E. Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hovered between three and four stars for this one. The premise - Hogwarts as merciless boot camp - ended up wearing a little thin. In a way, too, it was dropped right at the end, in what I felt was a bit of a gift to the heroine - not undeserved or unexpected, and yet it felt disappointing to me - a cheat.

The fact that the antagonist/love interest had a name that began with D and a father named Lucius made me suspect that the book began life as Harry Potter fanfiction; I may be wrong. It isn't very Potteresque, in the event, apart from the setting in a magic school. There's no whimsy or fun here, and it needed some.

The other thing it needed was a really good professional edit. The author credits an editor and five or six "proofers" in the acknowledgements, but there are still commas placed where no comma should ever, ever be, and repeated basic homonym errors like poured/pored, hoard/horde, and worst of all, shown/shone. The odd and awkward phrasings of many sentences had me wondering sometimes if the author spoke English as a first language.

Those frequent language errors were what, for me, tipped it over into three-star territory, along with the humourless tone and the frantically signalled setup for horrible tragedy later in the series. There wasn't a lot to counterbalance those issues, either; the setting and characters were pretty much by the numbers.

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