Saturday, December 29, 2007

Book Review: 13 Eyes by Joseph Ryan

It is more than obvious after the first chapter that this book is a young author's first attempt at a finished novel, and while it is a good attempt, it is still not a complete success.

The main focus of the story is a troubled young man suffering from strange visions and uncontrollable emotions, and the disjointed narrative is meant to convey his confusion while simultaneously setting up the readers for a number of shocking surprise twists that never truly shock or surprise.

The premise is valid, it is the execution that falls flat. This is due mainly to the writer's use of a non-linear format riddled with hallucinatory imagery, a combination that even seasoned veteran writers botch regularly. Also fumbled are the inner monologues of characters, and maybe even the characters themselves, as they come across as overly simplistic in their thoughts and actions.

All of these mistakes help detract from the story, but it is the author's own epilogue at the end that puts the final nail in the coffin. His explanation of why he wrote the book and what it means to him emotionally and psychologically is somewhat touching, but ultimately unneeded and somewhat heavy handed. All writers have personal agendas behind their works, but those feelings and philosophies should be reflected in the prose. If you have to explain to the reader how the book was supposed to make them feel, then you haven't done your job as a writer.

A good effort and a worthy project, but with a couple years more work and a couple hundred more pages to help flesh out characters and story points, the end product would have more faithfully reflected the author's intentions.

Reviewed by S. Michael Wilson

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