Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger

I got this book, Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.

This book suffers from a tragic lack of decent editing. I was so distracted by odd phrases, typos, and the exorbitant number of adverbs that I had to re-read the first few chapters. Heck, one of the pitch sentences on the back cover read, “An urgent need to follow it's covenant.” Shameful.

Granted, I’m also a writer and I can’t turn off my editor-vision when I’m reviewing something. But the incorrect phrasing would have distracted me anyway. For example, “…worked himself to the brink of exhaustion physically” (should be “…worked himself to the brink of physical exhaustion.”). Or, “Unable to think of anything else to say, the gift touched him deeply" (I’ve never known my gifts to think, speak, or rub my shoulders, but perhaps I’m doing it wrong.).

And if I have to cull my adverbs, then everyone else does, too. One section toward the beginning of the book almost made my head explode. In the course of one paragraph the character does things finally, tenderly, tightly, gently, sharply, bloodily, and quickly. I had to set the book down for the day.

Mid-scene POV shifts, an abundance of qualifiers (the favorite seemed to be “Listen”), and—and this may be a purely style-related complaint—I found the contraction use stilted and inconsistent. It kept jumping out at me throughout the entire book. It’s hard to explain. “What is the way to the store?” “I do not know what is wrong.” “He does not know what is going on and I am nervous,” etc. It just didn’t seem like realistic dialogue. I tried to ignore it but it took me out of the story ALL THE TIME. If there were no contractions at all, it would’ve been better. Some people don’t believe in them, and that’s fine, but the inconsistency made it worse. “I’m here because I am having dreams and I have not been able to tell what they are about.” People don’t talk like that. Am I crazy?

Moving on. The characters started out too idealistic. Everything in their lives went exactly as they wished, forever and ever, amen. I could almost see them skipping through the meadows, tossing flower petals into the air as they told tales of their perfect lives. Jillian’s mother says this about her marriage: “in all their married life, she’d never been bored.” Really? Never? Every single moment of the last 20 years was a paradigm of joy and adventure? Never a tedious night in front of the television? Never a sex-withholding, I-can-last-longer-than-you, silent-treatment-filled weekend? I don’t think so. I got that the author wanted to highlight the difference between the veritable utopia of their lives before their darling daughter got pregnant and the chaos it degenerated into afterward, but I didn’t believe it.

I also didn’t get why everyone flocked to the hospital so fast. People may take a 19-hour bus ride to look at a piece of toast with the imprint of the Virgin Mary on it, but they don’t want to just look at the house where the person who ate the toast lives. So why gather around to stare at a hospital when no one knows what (if anything) happened? Countless people overwhelm the city before the first news report. And even then, where was the skepticism? Why didn’t anyone, at least at first, think or even suggest that the doctor who was “miraculously healed” just hadn’t been that badly injured, or perhaps he’d spilled blood on his hand and had never been hurt in the first place? Without those X-rays showing otherwise, which nobody saw except the doctors, the whole “miracle” thing is nothing but hearsay. But no. The whole world jumps straight to “miracle.” I don’t buy it.

But let’s just say throngs of desperate miracle-seekers did surround the hospital. Would they really lock sick and dying people outside behind police barricades in the middle of a heat wave? It’s a HOSPITAL. And that press statement? REALLY? The hospital representative essentially blurts out, “Yes! We witnessed a miracle healing!” and goes back inside. No one does that. It creates hysteria and attracts crazy people. Heck, Obama took his time announcing that bin Laden was dead, and we already knew about it.

The “telling” really got to me, too. Characters said things like, “I’m scared and confused,” and “I’m just so tired and worried.” It reminded me of that episode of Futurama where the Robot Devil says, “You can’t have your characters just come right out and SAY how they feel. That makes me angry!”

I had a tough time powering through this one, what with the ridiculous number of punctuation errors and the weird lack of contractions. The story itself was ok. It got a lot better about halfway through, when Jackson almost cuts his arm off to experiment with the miraculous amniotic fluid, then injects more of it into random patients. That was pretty cool. But overall this book lacks subtlety, suffers from too much “telling,” and the editing was just abysmal. I give this two stars, tops, and a “pleh.”

Prophecy – The Fulfillment – by Deborah A. Jaeger

· ISBN-13: 978-0982889107
· ISBN-10: 0982889100

Publisher: Hampton House Publishing; First edition (June 14, 2011
Publisher's page

Amazon page for Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger

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