Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Missing the Mark
Gossamer: A Story of Love and Tragedy, by Lee Thompson
"An ancient witch, Dorothy Good, has lost everything to the vampire who has blown in on the hot desert wind and lain waste to her soul and her town. When a young family arrives at the end of a two week battle, she sees a chance to end the bloodshed and possibly regain a portion of what was stolen.
But they're heavily outnumbered and night is falling..."
This sounded pretty interesting...a real witch who has lost loved ones in the Salem witch trials goes on to live for centuries, only to be seduced by a vampire and fight a battle for the souls of the town she has spent her life protecting. I could get behind that.
But the story I read was not what I expected. There are a number of very awkward wording choices throughout the book. A good example starts right in the opening. " His face shown white beneath the stars, these same stars reflected in his black orb eyes, moonlight and building mating, spewing shadows about his shoulders like a cape."
I'm not sure what that means- moonlight and building mating? I was wondering if it was a typo, but the entire section this comes from is repeated three times within the rest of the book. So, if it was a mistake it should have been caught at least once.
Anyway, this sort of criticism could be considered nit-picky... maybe.
But my real problem was with inaccuracies that drew you completely out of the story. It begins in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692- the year of the witch trials.
Things that appear in this book in 1692, in Salem:
A Catholic priest
An Irish policeman, complete with billy club
A tin of canned peaches
A prison, complete with warden and solitary confinement
Cobblestone roads (I can almost give you that one)
Also the witches in Salem are burned in this book. In real life they were hung, and one man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to testify.
A little research would have prevented such glaring mistakes.
Heck, a quick read through Wikipedia would have helped.
Also, the author needs to avoid stereotypes that may be offensive to his readers. The Irish policeman was described like this: " The policeman’s name was O’Connor, and in true Irish fashion he smelled of rotten things, secrets and fanaticism." That actually made my jaw drop. Irish people smell like rotten things? If you want the child to think this man smells rotten, to convey his evilness, express that...don't include a phrase like "In true Irish fashion," which seems like a generalized statement about all Irish people.
My hope for this is that the author will get a good beta reader and editor to go over this and maybe it can be re-released. I don't think the idea is the problem, just the execution.