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REVIEW: Through The Veil by Shiloh Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

book review I know it has taken me a long time to complete this review, but the truth is that it took me a long time to complete Through The Veil. At first I kept thinking it was just that I couldn’t sit down and focus long enough on the story to feel engaged, but after a hundred pages or so, I realized that it didn’t matter what the cause of my underwhelmed response was, because that feeling wasn’t going anywhere, and in fact persisted until the last quarter of the novel.

Lee Ross is afraid she is going crazy. Plagued by dreams of battle in a strange land, and of a compelling man who she only sees in those dreams, she often wakes bruised and battered, as if she has traveled during her sleeping hours to do battle in that realm of her nightmares. Little does Lee know that the land of her dreams is really her homeland, and the realm to which she is connected heart and soul, her existence essential to its survival. As the novel’s titular veil between worlds becomes thinner and thinner for Lee, even tormenting her while she is awake, memories of her nighttime world bleed into her consciousness, assaulting her with the reality of two lives, one lived in the darkness, the other in the sunlight. And when Lee finds herself inexplicably thrust into that nighttime world while she is fully awake, thus begins the unraveling of the mystery of Lee’s birth and origins, as well as the unwinding of an entire people’s fate.

Ishtan is an almost barren land, besieged by demons and monstrous ground-dwelling beings called wyrms, as well as the enemy world of Anqar. Ishtan is a sort of middle-land between earth and Anqar, separated by energy Gates that can only be opened by specific individuals with specific gifts of magick. It has properties of an earthly world as well as magical attributes more identifiable with a supernatural realm. Once Lee moves into Ishtan consciously, she begins to understand her own gifts of magick, one of which is that she can see the Veil between realms, and is immediately engaged in the quest to save Ishtan from its various threats, still uncertain why she is so important to the struggle but determined to do what she can to save the people she has known for so long in her dreams.

Especially Kalen, whom she has known, in her intermittent way, since she was only a child, traveling over the years to his rescue and to his side in battle. Although Kalen is deeply attached and attracted to Lee, he knows that her continuous displacement from Ishtan means that she is not a good romantic risk. Once Lee seems more permanently ensconced in Ishtan, though, the mutual attraction between Kalen and Lee accelerates, and their closeness grows at the same pace as the jeopardy to their world.

Through The Veil reads like romantic urban fantasy to me, that is, as a romance superimposed on an urban fantasy blueprint. Part quest (isn’t it interesting how many of these books have heroines coming of age in their late twenties or so? I wonder if that’s part of the attraction between Romance and Urban Fantasy right now), part love story, part family saga; in fact, the novel has so many ostensible elements that I could never figure out why it felt sparse in substance until almost the three-hundredth page mark. Had I only been reading the book and not reviewing it, I would have given up at 200 or even 100 pages. I am glad I persisted, but am still disappointed overall.

A big part of the problem for me was the narrative voice, which made me feel distanced from the action of the novel. The prose often felt a little melodramatic to me, and the images conjured were not always easy for me to envision:

Fear bubbled inside his throat, digging in with sharp, angry claws. He couldn’t lose her.

I sat and contemplated that line for a few minutes after reading it, trying to reconcile the bubbling and digging, jarred by the imagery. Sometimes unfamiliar combinations of words and images can be jarring in a good way, pushing the reader to a deeper level of understanding or awareness, but there were a number of moments in Through The Veil where I felt more disoriented than better settled in the narrative. Further, the power behind the narrative often felt to me external to the story, a distinct sense of telling from outside, even when the characters’ thoughts were being represented:

Lee was still a little too shaky to think about the woman Eira called Aneva. Right now, although Lee hated to admit it, she wasn’t ready to think about her mother yet so she simply blocked it out. The coward’s way out, maybe, but the woman was little more than a stranger to Lee and since she had died years ago, that wasn’t likely to change. Thinking about her now wasn’t going to change things, so Lee decided not to think about her.

But even though she could force push her thoughts about her mother into a neat little box and not dwell on them, she couldn’t do the same thing with Eira. Eira’s death hurt. Lee didn’t know if it was because the old lady had been the only blood relative Lee actually knew, or if it had something to do with whatever memories she had suppressed of this place. But it hurt. The pain kept sneaking up on her, grabbing her by throat and blinding her with the pain. Even now as she hiked through the dense undergrowth, tears stung her eyes.

She blinked them away. There wasn’t any time to cry right now. No time to mourn.

Intellectually I understand that I am supposed to feel Lee’s grief and pain here, the loss of a woman who had served as Lee’s mentor and as something more, something Lee discovers a little too late. But there is just so much verbiage here, so much telling me how Lee feels that there’s no room left for me to feel it myself. I don’t know if this stylistic trait caused my early sense of disconnection from the book’s substance; it may be that the repetition and other stylistic traits that alienated me might have really engaged another reader. But I felt this incredible irony through the first several hundred pages, where despite the sheer number of words I was reading, I felt that little was actually happening, especially in regard to the relationship development between Kalen and Lee.

Although I appreciated that these two had known each other for many years, and I liked the way that they had both resisted their mutual attraction for so long (knowing how untenable it would be), in the end I wasn’t completely sold on the big love between them. Part of my problem here was Kalen’s characterization, which seemed unfocused to me at times. For example, his first thought about Lee, communicated directly to the reader, is that she is a “[s]tubborn little bitch,” which felt a bit disrespectful to me (when I think it was supposed to telegraph the opposite message, actually), contrasted strangely to me with the Southern good old boy Kalen seems to be channeling when he tells Lee that Ishtan will be at war, “Until we win, darlin’.” As the novel proceeds, his speech patterns seem to change, with the Southern drawl giving way to a different voice altogether. I knew Kalen was a good guy, and I knew he was attracted to Lee in a big way, but I never felt him as a vividly drawn man, as much as a certain type — strong but sensitive, a compassionate but commanding leader, passionate and protective but respectful of his woman’s independence, etc. Consequently, it was difficult for me to connect emotionally to his relationship with Lee, especially to their rapid build up of passion.

Now had the whole of the novel read to me like the last quarter did, my overall reaction would be quite different. It is in this last section of the novel that the answers to the mysteries are finally rolled out and the more interesting aspects of the warfare revealed. I understand that some of these things could not be revealed earlier, but I wish that the road to revelation had been more richly layered with the kind of intense focus on characterization, motivation, conflict, and thematic development that exists in this last section of the story. That last quarter or so was much, much stronger, and I found myself truly interested in what was going to happen to these characters and much less focused on the things that had bothered me earlier. I am not certain whether this radical change in my reading experience is as much as issue of pacing as it is an issue with the tension between world building and relationship building. It felt to me as if the first sections of the book were offered to set up the later revelations and to build the romantic relationship between Lee and Kalen, so that when the action in the story became more intense and fast-paced that the infrastructure of the novel would be at full build out. As much as I admire that, it did not work for me as executed, in part, I think, because the starkness of Ishtan’s war-torn landscape was mirrored for me in the majority of the narrative. I was also thrown out of the novel a few times by references to things like the “plasma assault rifle,” which gave me a spontaneous flashback to “Ghostbusters,” ruining for me the serious mood of the scene.

One more issue I am somewhat reluctant to mention is that of typos and errors, of which I found many in the ARC I read. I understand that we are not supposed to hold these against the book, because so many are edited out in the final copy (and as a sometimes sloppy drafter and poor proofreader, I understand this preliminary – final distinction quite well), but a persistent misuse of “lie” and “lay,” as well as the typos and misspellings and other inconsistencies really did interfere with my ability to stay connected to the story at some points. For example, two characters (only one of whom is physically present in the novel, but both of whom are significant) are described as both daughter and mother and granddaughter and grandmother:

Elina had contacted them. She knew about her mother’s death and she’d be there as fast as she could, bringing her oldest two children with her, a witch-born daughter and a psychic.

Eira’s granddaughter, Elina, had left behind most of her clothing and the women were of a similar size so at least Lee’s clothes fit.

This inconsistency was of importance in the novel because it is part of the mystery surrounding Lee’s attachment to Ishtan. Since I don’t know if it was resolved (and how) in the final book, I got confused trying to keep characters and family lines straight later on the novel, forcing me to go back and double check the relationship references. I don’t think it matters which way the inconsistency was resolved; I simply provide it as one example of how those ARC-ish mistakes can make it difficult to fully appreciate a book during the reviewing process, where I try to be extra-careful about weighing and measuring different aspects of the text accurately and fairly.

I know that there are other readers who enjoyed Through The Veil much more than I did, so I may be in the minority on this one. I would be interested in whole novel that read like the last quarter of this one did, but for Through The Veil I ended up in the conflict-torn but hardly barren land of the C-.

~Janet

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells. No ebook format.

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

21 Comments

  1. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 08:31:22

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more, Janet. Maybe I’ll have better luck next time~

  2. Gennita Low
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 09:02:52

    I was fascinated by the premise of a woman waking up with horrible bruises and then learning later that she was a warrior in another realm. I wanted to know “how” she did it, even though it was done magically. In the scene when she was monitored by the doctors and they registered a blip and she “disappeared,” I was eager to find out more, but that wasn’t really shown. I understand that the earth-realm Lee couldn’t remember, so that has to remain a secret till the end.

    I enjoyed this book because it was a little different from the usual urban fantasy/paranormal stories (vampire hunters, demons, queen of werewolves…) out there, with a good twist at the end. Shiloh, are you going to write the story of the remaining twin brother?

    P/S and O/T
    One time, a long while ago, I woke up daily for a week with the most AWFUL bruises along my arms and legs. I was totally flummoxed since I hadn’t done anything to hurt myself. It was only that one week, but I always remembered those horrible bruises because people kept asking me whether I had been mugged. Now I know where I had gone to, Shi! Heh.

  3. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 09:12:37

    I enjoyed this book because it was a little different from the usual urban fantasy/paranormal stories (vampire hunters, demons, queen of werewolves…) out there, with a good twist at the end. Shiloh, are you going to write the story of the remaining twin brother?

    Glad you liked it, Gennita! If you wanna know the answer to that, you’ll have to email me, though.

    ;) Weird bruises were the inspiration behind the story. Namely weird ones on me and my husband’s offhand comment one day that I oughta write a book about a woman who wakes up with bruises and it’s because she keeps getting sucked into another world where she’s in a war. I get weird bruises all the time-today’s bruise count is 3. I know how I got one of them. The other two are a mystery.

  4. Robin
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 12:16:01

    Sorry you didn't enjoy it more, Janet.

    Me, too, Shiloh. It seems wrong, somehow, not to love a book with such a beautiful cover and such an interesting premise, lol.

    BTW, was Eira Aneva’s mother or grandmother?

    I was fascinated by the premise of a woman waking up with horrible bruises and then learning later that she was a warrior in another realm. I wanted to know “how” she did it, even though it was done magically. In the scene when she was monitored by the doctors and they registered a blip and she “disappeared,” I was eager to find out more, but that wasn't really shown.

    The show/tell issue was probably my biggest with the book. I agree with you that the premise of the book was different, and as I said in the review, I enjoyed the last section, in part, I think, because the significance of so many things could be indulged in the narrative. I actually think the how of Lee’s traveling could have been explained in the novel without compromising some of its secrets. And perhaps had I known a couple of those secrets I might have been more invested in what was happening, able to feel the conflict between Ishtan and Anqar more personally. That human element we get with the twins, for example, hooked me in, and had that been more prominent earlier on, I think I would have been more interested during those early sections.

  5. Bonnie L.
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 12:20:02

    I liked Through the Veil because it was different and it took me to someplace new and interesting. I finished the book wanting more of Ishtan and it’s rugged survivors. You better believe I’ll be emailing you Ms. Walker because the first thing I did when I finished was check your website to see if there were any sequels coming out~

  6. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 12:47:23

    BTW, was Eira Aneva's mother or grandmother?

    Bear in mind I’m answering this without checking my info (wrote it over a year ago, so I can’t 100% swear) Aneva was Eira’s daughter. Some of the familial issues were taken care of, I think, when I did my edits. (ETA: If I can remember, I’ll go double check, but I’m signing off here shortly because a killer deadline is…well, killing me and I have to cut my bloghopping/playtime short)

    I liked Through the Veil because it was different and it took me to someplace new and interesting. I finished the book wanting more of Ishtan and it's rugged survivors. You better believe I'll be emailing you Ms. Walker because the first thing I did when I finished was check your website to see if there were any sequels coming out~

    Thank you, Bonnie!

  7. JaimeK
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 14:58:15

    I love this site. It shows so many diverse opinions on the same book. I was bummed to read the grade C. I loved this book. The premise is different from anything out there that I have read before. I enjoyed the thought of the other world and Lee going there in “dreams.” I liked the creatures that were the evil in that world, they were, IMO, well drawn. I could see Shiloh doing a Raymond Feist and giving us a story from the “bad guys” point of view for that world. Making him not such a bad guy.

    I will say there were a few typos in my published version as well. The only one I can remember off the top of my head that annoyed me was a line that was supposed to read she “signed” and instead she “singed.” I had to read the paragraph a couple of times before it crashed through my head why I wasn’t comprehending. There weren’t as many as what it sounds like Janet had.

    I am hoping for another book set in this world. Time will tell…

  8. Bzangl
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 16:26:13

    I liked this book too, which surprised me as I’m not a big fan of the urban fantasy/alternate world type books. However, I have really liked Shiloh’s online voice, and when I saw the book decided to check it out. I got sucked in after reading a few pages and bought the book. I did think that the middle part (after she went through the veil) was a little slow, but it was still engaging enough that I read it all in one evening. I think the problem that I had wasn’t really with the story, but it was more that I read the glossary of terms before I read the story , which confused me more than helped. It would have flowed better for me if I didn’t have that dictionary floating in my mind. Anyways, I will definitely check out more books by Shiloh.

  9. MD
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 17:37:06

    I think the stylistic trait you mention in the review is a sign of just not enough editing. I see that more and more in novels I’ve purchased from epubs. The author has told the basic story and usually the grammar is adequate and all that, but deeper issues don’t seem to be addressed. New writers are breaking through before they’ve gained a lot of writerly skill. And that seems to lead to lower expectations from readers too, somehow. It’s weirdly depressing, in a way, because with more drafts and more care, some of these novels could be superb. I wish epublishers would be more demanding.

    To stray off-topic, if you’re getting a lot of unexplained bruises, go get your white blood cell count checked asap. That’s a symptom of something not quite so much fun as being dragged into another world to fight a war and fall in love.

  10. Kerry
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 17:53:02

    As a big fan of Ms. Walker’s previous books, I advance ordered Through the Veil and finished it… in a couple or three sittings. It was difficult for me to get invested in Lee, who, despite having years’ worth of physical evidence in the form of bruises, sprained joints, EEG readings, and film (to name only a few), refused to accept that something unnatural, supernatural, or otherwise scientifically unexplainable was happening to her. Instead, she ran away from the medical scientists who might actually be able to help her in favor of thinking she was going crazy. As she wasn’t the only person who viewed some, if not all, of the evidence, her willful blindness (again, over the course of years)really irritated me. If she believed herself to be so crazy as to harm herself in her sleep or to travel to an alternate reality, why didn’t she go see a psychiatrist? Maybe she would have gotten some regression therapy and figured out her true origins a heck of a lot earlier. As she didn’t, I found it difficult to slog through her early story. I felt that most of the time Lee (and therefore I) spent agonizing over her situation was completely contrived and a waste of both our time.

    In addition to Lee’s behavior, Kalen’s also was initially irritating. He had come to know Lee over the course of twenty years, knew she was somehow vital to the survival of his people and the fate of his world, and had all but fallen in love with her. Yet he had never asked her last name, where she lived, where she went during the time she wasn’t with him, or anything else a normal person would ask a friend, a lover, or even a fellow soldier. Confrontation on these topics finally caused “shadow” Lee to break through to “real” Lee (causing feelings of, of course, craziness in Lee), so I felt weighted and slowed down by Kalen’s early story, too.

    There were several other setting, story, and character inconsistencies that kept forcing me out of what usually is an unshakable willing suspension of disbelief – including seeing Kalen as more of a caricature than a character, as Janet commented in her review. But finally, the characters were who and where they were supposed to be, and some of the plot secrets started trickling out. I’m in agreement with Janet that, had some of these characters, settings, and issues been introduced earlier in the storyline, perhaps I wouldn’t be quite so unsatisfied with the overall book. But as it stands, I felt very emotionally distanced from these characters and their plight for most of the time I spent reading about them. The ending did make up for some of that distance, and the premise still sounds so wonderfully promising, so I will probably read the sequel. But my overall feelings about Through the Veil, to my deep regret, range from general ennui to dissatisfaction and discontent. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t make me happy. I agree with the C- rating.

  11. Ann Somerville
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 18:45:34

    I see that more and more in novels I've purchased from epubs.

    I should point out that this is not an e-publication but a print book.

    I should also point out that all epubs are not alike. My experience with Samhain is of extremely careful and rigorous editing, with a final pass through a separate line editor to pick up anything that was missed by me or my editor. Samhain also insist that no item is sent for review that has not been through the line-editing process.

  12. Stephanie
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:13:05

    I get mysterious bruises, too. Well, not so mysterious — I’m definitely a klutz, so I’m sure I walked into something. I can never remember actually doing it, though.

    Perhaps I’m going to another realm!

    I’ll look for this, because it does sound like an interesting premise.

  13. Sara Reinke
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:13:40

    I have to say that at least in my experience with the pub process, by the time you get your galley proofs — which someone else has typeset from your original, hard copy manuscript, btw, and not an electronic file that you typed yourself — you are sooooooooooooo familiar with your manuscript you can quote it in your sleep, LOL. (Come on — ask me what’s the first line of chapter seven in “Dark Thirst,” *g*) So we miss things sometimes and so do the production folks and typos wind up in ARCs and final copies. And with me, something I missed despite looking at it 14 bazillion times on my computer screen, printed out to paper, in copyedit and galley proof stands out like a big, glaring, bright red X with a spotlight trained on it once the book has long gone to print. It makes me wince every time.

    I’ve always had to stop and think about the “lie on the bed” or “lay an egg” difference. And let’s not even get into laid, lain, laying, lying, etc. LOL

  14. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 21:49:48

    To stray off-topic, if you're getting a lot of unexplained bruises, go get your white blood cell count checked asap. That's a symptom of something not quite so much fun as being dragged into another world to fight a war and fall in love.

    MD, there’s not medical issue on my end. ;) Unless you consider being a klutz a medical problem-although the docs I’ve worked with seem to find it amusing more than troublesome.

    Yeah, unexplained bruises can be worrisome, but my main problem is that I bump into things, but it’s such a common occurence (likely due to my lack of attention) I forget when I do it and then bam, a day later, mongo bruises.

    I think the stylistic trait you mention in the review is a sign of just not enough editing. I see that more and more in novels I've purchased from epubs.

    MD, Ann already mentioned that this was a print pub with Berkley. But as much as I hate to say it, editing problems, in the end, are my mistake. I’m lousy at catching things, so I use proofreaders before I send it off, but the bottom line is that my name is the one of the book, so I’m responsible.

    Kerry, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it more. I wish there was a way I could have explained certain issues in way that might have worked better for some readers, but some of the things would have involved changing certain character aspects, namely Lee’s character-and I can’t change who the character has become in my mind. I can work on some things, smooth certain issues out, but I can’t change how she faces things. After a while, characters take own their own personalities, even in the writer’s mind, and if I try to change that, the story stalls and then stops. I wish it could have worked better for you.

    I've always had to stop and think about the “lie on the bed” or “lay an egg” difference. And let's not even get into laid, lain, laying, lying, etc. LOL

    Sara…, I’m lousy at it. Utterly. Fortunately most of those issues get caught but unfortunately, some slipped through in this one.

    Bzangl & JaimeK, thank you. :) I’ve gotten the okay from my editor for more in this world, now I just need to put the proposal together…hopefully after evil, awful, deadlinefromhell is reached.

  15. GrowlyCub
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 22:03:04

    I’ve found that editing quality varies not just among e-pubs but also between books by the same publisher. I’ve bought books from Loose Id, Samhain, Liquid Silver, EC and several others and I’ve seen some very clean books and some for which I’m convinced NO editing happened whatsoever. It irks me no end if they don’t even catch the typos that a simple Word spell check would point out. I have one e-book that is also available in print and there were typos, grammar errors, dropped words, or extra words on EVERY page. It was a damn shame, because it’s a great story and it deserved better.

    Sara is right, after reading through a document so many times, the mind fills in missing words, etc. but that’s what crit partners and editors are for. That’s why authors don’t all self-publish, that’s the added value for which an author hands over a piece of the revenue. There really is no excuse for shoddy work to see the light of day.

    What I see find most regrettable, however, is that even if there’s line/copy editing, story editing is often completely absent and sorely needed.

    E-pubs seem to be putting less effort into editing from the examples I have in my 200+ e-book library (I saw a tract on the ‘tyranny of the ‘had’ not too long ago, in which the ‘editor’ encouraged writers to drop ‘had’ from their writing. That just made me want to reach out and tell that person that there is more than one past tense in the English language for a really good reason and to beg all authors to PLEASE use correct tempi in their works).

    But it’s not just e-pubs; the recent O’Reilly Blaze trilogy was riddled with typos. Very disappointing! To me bad editing shows disrespect for the reader.

  16. Bev Stephans
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 23:10:59

    I know this is supposed to be about Shiloh’s book, but I haven’t read it yet.

    I want to point out that some epubs, when careless with their editing, take immediate steps to correct the problem. I purchased an ebook from Samhain that was riddled with typos and grammatical klunkers. I fired off an email to Angela James, who is the senior editor at Samhain. She replied with a very gracious thank you for pointing it out and explained that this particular ebook slipped through the cracks before final editing. She said that she was appreciative of the fact that it was pointed out before the book went to press.

    All in all, if Samhain had published Shiloh’s book, the editing would probably been a lot better!

  17. kirsten saell
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 00:38:14

    What I see find most regrettable, however, is that even if there's line/copy editing, story editing is often completely absent and sorely needed.

    I think this tends to occur in two major niches: the books they know will sell no matter what (m/m, m/m/f, BDSM, etc) and the books they know won’t (f/f).

    I have to say that at least in my experience with the pub process, by the time you get your galley proofs -’ which someone else has typeset from your original, hard copy manuscript, btw, and not an electronic file that you typed yourself…

    All in all, if Samhain had published Shiloh's book, the editing would probably been a lot better!

    Tell me NY isn’t still having typesetters do the manuscripts by hand? WTF? Do the typesetters have a particularly powerful union? Why on earth wouldn’t they use MS word or any other word precessor out there? Why even bother line editing, if you’re going to hand it over to some fallible human being who could fuck up every other word?

  18. Karen Templeton
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 11:19:09

    Can’t speak for other publishers, but Harlequin/Silhouette has been inputting changes into files the authors send them for at least ten years.

    Which makes goofs AFTER the final author alteration stage (we don’t get galleys) even more mysterious. Nothing makes my day like a reader pointing out an error I not only didn’t make, but never saw in any of the production stages. Grr.

  19. Meljean
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 12:45:29

    “Tell me NY isn't still having typesetters do the manuscripts by hand?”

    No, they aren’t (or at least Penguin doesn’t). I was under the impression that they still did, but then I had an interview on my site last year with a proofreader, and she said they convert the document.

    RE: Through the Veil — I’m also hoping for more of this world.

  20. Robin
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 13:32:34

    Judging by the number of comments from enthusiastic readers, I definitely think I’m in the minority on Through The Veil (although I found myself nodding along with Kerry’s assessment, and while I didn’t mention the glossary in my review, I gave up reading it early on and simply referred back to it when I got confused). I’m glad so many others liked this book.

    As for lie and lay, the way I was taught the difference (and what has stuck with me for many years) is that you lie yourself down, but you lay something else down. Thinking of it that way has rarely caused confusion for me. But I came across this site the other day, and I like it, too.

    For whatever reason, Berkeley books do seem — of the print books — to have more errors that I catch. It does frustrate me, even though I always expect *some* errors, since it’s so incredibly difficult to catch everything (especially with Word catching only misspelled words). Someone mentioned the recent Kathleen O’Reilly trilogy, and the first book, which I bought in e-form, actually seemed to be missing words in several places, which both surprised and irritated me. I’ve actually found Harlequin books (at least the ones I’ve read) to be pretty clean. And lately I’ve noticed quite a few typos in some of the Avon books I’ve read.

    I suspect that there are multiple reasons for the persistence of errors, but it’s something that does wear on me as a reader. Of course so does awkward grammar, misused words, and incorrect punctuation (serial abuse of the comma, especially). I realize that some of this is a matter of taste and judgment (and that knowledgeable opinions will vary), but it still makes me a little nostalgic for the bad old days when everyone learned to diagram sentences and had to do those boring old grammar drills. I especially wish the placement of prepositional phrases and dependent clauses would make a comeback in writing instruction. None of us is perfect; I make errors all the time, only some of which I catch in time (if only I had an editor, lol!). But I definitely seem to go through phases where errors in professionally written, edited, and published prose seem more common than I’d expect.

  21. aA
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 01:59:48

    What is the title of the preview novel at the end of the novel?

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