Jul 22 2006
Dear Ms. Feehan:
I haven’t bought a book written by you in years. My neighbor bought this one and offered it to me. It’s hard to turn down free books and I thought I remembered you fondly. After reading the first 100 pages, it was brought back in stark relief why I had stopped buying you. Your writing is awkward – filled with info dumps, interchangeable characters and spotty world building.
Libby Drake is one of the seven magical sisters. She is a doctor and her special trait is her ability to heal people. Some of her other sisters have this ability, but she has the strongest ability. Strangely, she can bring two people back from the brink of death after gunshot wounds, concussions, and brain trauma but she can’t heal a young boy who has cancer. That makes perfect sense.
Tyson Derrick is the hero. Strike that, he is a SUPER hero. He fights fires, speeds around in expensive cars and motorcycles, and goes on rescue missions. AND, he is a brilliant research scientist. AND he is a multi millionaire from money he inherited from his parents. Of course, his flaw is that he is abrupt with people and he has a self pity complex from the fact his parents didn’t love him enough.
I would think that after so many years of writing that you could have polished up on the showing v. telling technique because this book was completely told to us. Every character sounds the same and talks in four to five sentence paragraphs. There are no exchanges in this book, only lectures. The lectures are really awkward exposition or, as my friend likes to call it, “As you know Bob dialogue.” For example, all the sisters are together and talking. These women are very close but Hannah feels the need to say this:
“All the girls hated me,” Hannah said. “I walked into a room and they immediately got really nasty looks on their faces. I was so painfully shy I couldn’t have talked to them anyway, but it made it worse. They all thought I was stuck up and haughty. I didn’t even know what haughty was the first time I overheard someone call me that.”
If Hannah had said that to someone she was getting to know, that would make perfect sense. For her to announce this to her sisters is a sloppy way of telling the readers an important character trait of Hannah (versus showing).
The villian couldn’t have been more obvious if you just came out and labeled him. Your attempts to move the suspicion onto other people was ineffective. You demonized the villian too greatly to have any other outcome.
The main characters were completely overshadowed by the sisters’ relationships, particularly Hannah and Jonas’ interaction. Further, your world building and magic were inconsistent, particularly with Libby’s ability to heal some people and not others. You kept telling us that it was sooo dangerous for Libby to heal people and yet, you have her do it time and again with no real repercussions (oh, you tell us how dangerous it is, but it is not shown to us in any measurable way). I couldn’t bring myself to be interested in the main characters or the world building. I liked the glimpses of Hannah and Jonas and that’s probably what saved the book from being a true wallbanger. C- for you.