My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I recently won an electronic copy or J. L. Bryan’s The Haunted E-Book in exchange for a review. I have been a fan of horror since my first encounter at the age of nine, when my parents bought me The Complete Short Stories of Edgar Allen Poe. Alongside Poe, I grew up with Stephen King, Peter Straub, and John Saul. I’ve never really been actually scared but the deep psychological thrillers always seemed to pique my interest. I hadn’t been reading horror for quite some time now as Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and children’s books have been capturing my attention lately.
When I read the synopsis of the book I thought it might be intriguing. So, I began reading. Unfortunately, the synopsis was better written than the book. I only finished because I was obligated to write a review.
You are introduced to the main character, Dee, in the first chapter but are not given enough time to get to know her, or connect with her before you are thrown into the book she is reading. You are hopelessly lost to find out who you are supposed to be rooting for here. Although, it is interesting that he tied them all together. The logic is not quite there.
This leads me to the next issue of reading a book within a book, within a book. It was an interesting concept to be reading a book within a book. However, Bryan does not pass this off well enough. There is too much jumping between the books. To have each book titled the same as the main book with just different chapter numbers separating them is very trying just to keep those books straight. It is very confusing to keep the people, story, and characters straight.
I was very disappointed with the lack of warning this book had in regards to the language and scenes. There were many adult oriented scenes that really had no place in the book. I understand, this is a “horror” book, but sex does not have to be a part of it. And the gore, well, I could see his descriptions of the “horror” scenes as nothing more than the “in your face kind of gore” you get with today’s horror movies. Whatever happened to the ones that make you THINK? I mean, those are the TRUE horror!
Bryan is not very colorful with his writing. He lacks the imagery necessary to keep the reader engaged. Most of his adjectives are repetitive and mundane. He also seems to lack the visionary of an editor. This does not even begin to touch on the fact that there are so many grammatical and spelling errors throughout this book. I feel it was poorly written and Bryan hurried to get it out in print, bypassing any editing process.
My impression of this book is very poor. I can see this book as nothing more than Bryan’s attempt at a novel during the NaNoWriMo challenge in November, where a writer challenges himself to produce a novel of 50,000 words in the span of thirty days. Just because you have accomplished writing 50,000 words does not mean that you’ve completed the task of writing a novel and it’s ready for readers.
I did a little research, as well. I found out that this book was published using “CreateSpace”, which is a self-publishing tool. This leads me to the conclusion that my gut instincts were right. He has bypassed the whole editing/publishing process just so he could get his name and book in print. There are reasons we have editors. They help eliminate the grammatical and typographical errors this book is riddled with. There are also reasons why we have publishers. They help weed out nonsensical and poorly written stories. They know the market. They know what will sell. They can weed people like J. L. Bryan out of the book market!
Please, don’t read this! It’s not worth your time!