There had been some buzz about this book, but unfortunately it was negative chatter. I had already requested an ARC of the book when I came across the vehement discussions on various sci-fi and book review sites, but I remained determined to keep an open mind and not let the negativity or the reasons for the negativity (I won’t bring that into the review) sway me.
Truthfully, this is not the worst self-published novel I’ve ever read. But it’s far from the best.
Zade Holder is a free-spirited performer. She comes from a long line of hucksters … well, tarot card readers and psychics … and she’s determined to set her own path. She travels to Las Vegas and uses her supernatural powers to join with a band of misfit performers putting on a multi-million dollar magic act and gets caught up in a love triangle.
If this description doesn’t quite sound cohesive or exciting to you, then get out now. It doesn’t get much better.
One of the key warning signs of a self-published novel (or a novel published by a very small press) is an introduction that explains what the author is writing. And when that introduction is rife with errors, the warning signs are out before we even begin reading.
Character is important for me. I need to connect with a character to care about his/her story. Initially I liked Zade but she became quite one-dimensional and I wasn’t quite sure why I was supposed to really care about what she was doing. What was most interesting to me was the potential of her supernatural powers but the story seemed to not know if it was about this or about Zade’s relationships. Can it be both? Of course! But instead of being about both, it was about neither. We never get enough of a story about any of the aspects of Zade other than that she isn’t sure of herself. Interesting, but not novel-worthy.
I’ve definitely read worse – this at least caught my interest. It just couldn’t hold it. If this hadn’t been a review copy I would have stopped reading after about three chapters.
Looking for a good book? Me, too.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Handbook for Mortals
author: Lani Sarem
publisher: Geeknation Press
hardcover, 448 pages