Goodreads Rating: 3 stars
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars
I was given a copy of this book for an honest review.
Have you ever read a book so bad you just didn’t know how to put your feelings to words? How do you go about writing a review for a book that took you almost 3 months to get through 120 pages? So why did I give it 3 stars on Goodreads to keep it’s rating high? I guess that extra half was a pity star.
First, it is important to note that this book is geared towards middle grade readers. I want to point out that I am completely capable of reading middle grade aged books. Some of my favorites are:
- Fablehaven (Brandon Mull)
- Vampirates (Jason Somper)
- Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan)
I want it known now, at the beginning of this review, that the low rating was not because I couldn’t review this book for the age group it is geared towards. I can, as I have done reviews for this age group in the past. So where did this story go horribly wrong? At it’s execution.
I think this story line held a lot of promise and could have been something fantastic. I get that it is more for male readers, but that is not the issue. Reading this book almost felt like I was reading something translated directly into English. It felt broken, incorrect word usage and incorrect use of commas. For example, the first paragraph in Chapter 9 was one sentence. It contained almost 100 words (I counted) and 7 commas. I can’t even begin to explain how irked that made me. There were times I had to re-read sections multiple times just to make sure I understood what was happening. Sometimes you couldn’t tell who was talking because what was said didn’t fit the situation or the person who was supposedly saying it. Another major issue I had was the atrocious way Edwin talked! Look, I get that it is based in New York City and I can see why you want to get the “accent” across, but really? Here is an example:
Yeah, that’s it. I got some kinda cold or flu or summin’ and I’m de-loosional. None of that stuff happened today. No, can’t be. That’s crazy tawk. To think I actually thought that that all really happened! Ha! Whatta dope I am!
There is so much more grammatically wrong with this whole story, but I think I will talk about some positives. I like the reference to Krampus that Sister Clara referenced in the book. If I didn’t know the story behind Krampus in the Alpine culture, I would have completely missed this during Edwin’s flashback to the Boogen and ‘Sami Claus.’ I am curious as to why StreetSmart is trademarked in the story…? I will point out at the end there is a “Christian message.” The author mentions it as an “underlying” message, but it is blatant and in your face. I don’t have issues with this, but I felt like it was beaten to death. In fact, in some situations there were so many descriptions I would skip the rest of the paragraph. Some extremely long run on sentences actually repeated the same words, becoming completely redundant and having zero purpose in the story at all.
Goodreads reviews says this book has 4 stars. I read some of the reviews, majority of the readers gave it 4 and 5 stars. Which makes me ask myself two questions: 1) did I get a rough draft copy while others got the corrected version? or 2) am I the only reviewer who couldn’t get past the horrible grammatical structure of the ENTIRE story? I feel like maybe the second question is more applicable. Maybe everyone else overlooked the execution and stuck with the story line? Am I the only one on this planet that cannot enjoy a story that has horrible grammar? I think this story line held so much promise and I bet if some major edits were made, it would be more enjoyable. Making edits will not distort the idea of the story, but enhance it and make it more enjoyable and easier to get lost into this Christmas Eve adventure with Edwin.
Actually, after making it through this review, I am probably going to take away my pity star…Oh the conflict!