Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: Forbidden by Salem Kane

by M. J. Joachim

Roman Gladiators meet vampires and werewolves – strike that, it’s more like Roman Gladiators meet elves and humans, in this strange sci-fi story about boy meets girl, in the midst of escaping from the enemy to another world, only for the primary elf to fall in love with the girl in a slapstick comedy of errors. Throw in some Star Trek – beam the characters back and forth between worlds as desired, to keep the story moving along, and Forbidden is propelled into the marketplace.

Seriously, this story has a major identity crisis! It’s like watching Spartacus, Twilight, Merlin and Robin Hood simultaneously. Well at least we know what Kane probably likes to watch on t.v.

The sex scenes could easily have been the best parts, if only they hadn’t been watered down with what appears to be the writer’s clear embarrassment with writing them. Words like “manhood” and “soft spots” diluted the thrusts and drenching sweat, pouring out of every cell in both elf and human bodies. Had the writer not held back…even though the writer held back, these were the best written sequences in the story, and I found myself wishing Kane had written the entire book with as much focus, energy and passion.

There were heroes and villains, friendships and betrayals. Barroom brawls had glimpses of those age-old westerns, complete with rickety staircases, shoddy rooms above the saloon and slimy characters hiding in the shadows, greedily collecting whatever tidbits they could con from passersby.

I won’t bore you with the details about lack of editing and formatting. Suffice to say, anyone can write and publish a book, but no one should milk the marketplace, and get paid for doing so, when their manuscript runs rampant with missing periods at the end of sentences, random boldface for emphasis and numerous other careless mistakes made throughout.

All this aside, my biggest writing tip to you after reading Forbidden is:

Develop your characters fully. If you find yourself explaining or justifying their actions, in italics used as thoughts from their brain, stop. Your character needs to act without thinking, until you know your audience will understand. Skip the clichés that attempt to clue us in on a private joke. We get it already, and the joke will be on you, if you don’t take the time to thoroughly develop your characters.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Writing Tips today. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

M. J.

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Photo credit:  Kecko, Forbidden Bridge, CCA-2.0 Generic