These days it’s impossible to read about self publishing without seeing at least one article about Amanda Hocking. She’s pretty much the Cinderella poster child of successful self publishing. She was rejected repeatedly by publishers, put her stuff up online and made millions. So I picked up a few of her books at .99 cents during amazon sales. A decision I kind of regret and kind of don’t.
As a book, this failed miserably. I actually put it down several times. I only wound up continuing for one reason. This book is the single best example of every piece of “do-not-do-this” writing advice that I’ve ever seen. As a writer I made a mental note to check my work each time I cringed at this. Everything you never wanted to read and then some, it’s got it all.
-A TSTL FMC who is not only unlikable, but also uncaring, bratty, an insult to strong female leads everywhere.
-A foxy MC who is emotionally abusive, cold, distant and generally an ass, but our heroine simply can’t resist him.
-Stilted, boring dialogue that was both repetitive and uninformative.
-A plot devoid of anything even vaguely original except for trolls which to be perfectly clear was the reason I was most excited to read this because how many trolls in YA are there?!
-Not a single plot twist. I’m not sure if that’s because she forgot that they might be nice, or if she didn’t realize how predictable the entire story was. There was not a single moment when I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next.
-Boring pacing. The story apparently passes in what feels like days but is apparently weeks due to poor story telling but it doesn’t matter because the characters are so focused on themselves that the outside world, ie. the other characters don’t matter.
-My biggest pet peeve was that the main character, Wendy, doesn’t know anything about the troll world, so instead of her exploring, everything is told to her, and thus us. But first she has to demand answers, and she isn’t the demanding type. In fact every time that she doesn’t know or understand something, the other characters tell her a variation on “shut up, this doesn’t concern you yet, you’ll learn later”, and Wendy does nothing. She doesn’t demand, plead, beg, or fight back at all. She is the weakest, most insufferable female lead that I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading and I cannot believe that she was written by a woman.
-Every conversation she ever has involves other characters cluing her in to the feelings of the other characters. Because this was evidently simpler than actually writing characters with emotions. SPOILERS: Rhys reveals Finn’s love. Garrett reveals Elora cares. etc. It’s really great that she included this answer key because without the characters casually answering all Wendy’s relationship issues in conversation, the reader would have no clue why anything happens, because the characters are all so cold ie. cardboard cut out wastes of time.
-Actually since the plot is so damn predictable, the characters are interchangeable with every other poorly written stereotypical romance, trolls or not.
I was going to make a comparison between Wendy and Bella and Finn and Edward but this book makes Twilight look like high class fiction. I never thought I’d see the day that I’d wish for Bella and Edward but twilight saga at least attempted to make characters grow and for a plot to happen, even if none of it made sense and/or their relationship resembled an abusive relationship. Bella had more spine than this brat. Ugh. I’m done.
Truth be told, the best thing about this book is the cover, closely followed by the first chapter, during which the main character’s human/fake mother attempts to kill her.
It would have been better for all our sake if she’d succeeded.
Someone somewhere must think that this book is entertaining or well written, but that person is certainly not me. I wouldn’t recommend this to any reader ever. I would however recommend this to a writer who would like a clear example of what they shouldn’t do. Go forth with your red pen and enjoy.