December 19, 2011

The Persephone Prophecy: The Gift by Zia Marie


Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Williams is adjusting to life as an only child following the disappearance of her older brother, Ben, two years ago. She has battled alcoholism and is constantly dealing with her own feelings of guilt and weakness in the aftermath. 

On the last night of her summer vacation, she and her boyfriend, Andrew, come across a car wreck and discover Quinn Reyes trapped inside. With a touch of his hand, her already fragile world is shaken, especially when demon hunter Milo Montgomery comes to town looking for her. 
She learns that Milo and Quinn were searching for a person nicknamed The Persephone Prophecy because of her ability to walk between the human world and the demon underworld. 

Thrust into a new existence, Alexandra will be forced to confront her own demons and discover that she is far stronger than she could have ever imagined.

Introducing a dark new young adult trilogy packed with romance, action and demon lore. The first book in the Persephone Prophecy trilogy.

My Thoughts:

Okay, where to start with this book? 

I'm so disappointed on so many fronts with this book and the author that I don't even know where to start. I guess at the beginning would be appropriate.

I won this book at LibraryThing. Well, more specifically I won the second book in this series. So the author, who I thought was kind and sweet, gave me the first book. 

So I started to read it recently and I couldn't finish it. It wasn't because of the typos (the book was grammatically clean), it because of all the newbie errors. I will list them here, but be warned: It's a lot. 

So here's the list as to why I didn't finish it:

1. Character Development

All of her characters are flat. They are. I couldn't relate to them and they just seem cut out characters out of a catalogue.

Alexandra was just the perfect little angel that every parent dreams of.
Andrew is the perfect boyfriend.
Cole is the typical bad boy.
Brooke is the bad girl best friend.

If you're going to create characters, then you've have to make them memorable and strong. Instead Zia Marie gave me blah characters that aren't memorable at all. 

2. The Plot

It's a hot mess. 

Straight up, the beginning was boring and the plot didn't even really begin until the car crash which was bogged down with awkward phrasing and weird dialogue.

So it wasn't action packed, hold me onto the seat of my pants. Or even, it's going to be a bumpy ride sorta thrill. It was more like, "Wait for it . . . .  Wait for it  . . . . Are you still there? Wait for it some more . . . . And blam."

Then I was like, "Really, it took you THIS long to get to the fun part of the novel? Fail!"

And even then, the interesting part of the novel was quickly snuffed out. So for me, this plot was slow moving like a slug and it just wasn't interesting.

3. Exposition Dumps

Does anybody knows what this is? By any chance?


Okay, I'll explain. This is when you tell the reader ALL of the back story in pages and pages and pages of length.

In detail.

And for like forever.

This author is an expert of dumping loads of information all in one spot for a long length of time. It's the same as, "Girl, before I tell you what happened, let me give you ALL the deets."

And they keep going. And going. AND going, and after like five pages of background story, they give you the story.

Now as experience writers, we obviously can't do that.

Why? You might ask.

Well, for one, it scares the readers away. If a reader sees all of this information in thick paragraphs, then they'll look at the book then at Twitter, then back at the book and probably say, "Aw, forget it!"

And go to Twitter. 

It's just that simple.

Another reason: It's just plain ol' unimaginative. 

Why would a reader want to know all of the answers to all of the mysteries in a book all at the beginning?

Um, that's right, no one! I love trying to figure out the plot and seeing what will happen. Then in the middle of the book, slam me down with what's really going on.

It's like how a woman should dress: Don't show everything or your goods. Leave something to the imagination.

Don't give out all of the juicy details in the beginning. Sprinkle it throughout the story. That's how it should be done. 

Unfortunately, Zia Marie did not. 

4. Telling more then Showing

I know I can hear groans from the writers, but this is basically: When you tell the readers about the character's emotions, specifically, rather than showing their emotions.

For example: John is sad.

Obviously, it doesn't take one ounce of talent to write that sentence. Therefore, it is strongly discouraged to write that. Or to say that a character is acting x way because they feel y.

That's a big no no. 

Additionally, readers hate that since we love a good mystery. We like to find out why they are acting like that. That's what made Edward so interesting. We didn't understand why he was acting like a weirdo until he told us. Stephanie Meyer didn't say, "Hey he's a vampire and he feels this way for Bella because . . ."


Instead she showed us through his actions and his words how he felt in the book. And I have to say, the words were beautiful. The comparisons, pure poetry.

Anyway, main point: This author told us the character's emotions and why in the same sentence. So, as soon as a character did something, she usually followed that up with why they acted that way with an exposition dump.

I'm not saying that using this technique ALWAYS works. But if you do it once or twice, with telling us, then I wouldn't be too bothered. But when it's every time a dialogue is going on and there's an explanation . . . 

Well, I have a problem with that.

5. Dialogue

I don't know what it is, but it seems like she struggled with the teenage dialogue. Sometimes it was fine, but the other times, the teens sounded like adults. Then others, like children. 

The children part I didn't have a lot of issues part, but when you try to make teens sound like an adult, that's where I have an issue.

They are young adults and they should sound like such. 

If a writer is not sure how teens should sound, then go to a local high school, sit and listen. Take notes on how they speak and act. It's just that simple. 

6. The Look-Alike Names

Cori and Cole
Andrew and Alexandra and Amy

I don't know what is with authors with using the same letter for a character and their mates, but I got them confused. Especially with Cori and Cole. I had to look over the names twice to make sure I wasn't looking at the same characters.

Plain and simple, budding writers: Don't do that. There are, literally, millions of names to pick from. Pick a nice variety of names that don't repeat in sound or alphabet sounds.

Like in Iwishacana/Acanawishi, I was guilty of this: Torrence and Florence.

Sound similar, right? 

Well, I changed it. Why? Because I don't want my readers to get the names confused, therefore, I took the book reviewers advice and changed the name Torrence to Terrell. 

Florence and Terrell sound very different, yes? 

Win win. 

7. Andrew and Alexandra

They are technically boyfriend and girlfriend in the novel, but I didn't feel it at all. Andrew is about to leave onward to college, and they don't hang around each other much. They don't really refer to each other with nicknames. They don't touch each other. They don't really talk to each other like a couple would. 

This all screams to me like they are friends with benefits more than anything else. 

Did I expect a hot make out scene between them?

Absolutely not!

I'm not looking for an erotic scene between them. I was just looking for that puppy love/first love sorta feel between them. A touch, a hug, a kiss, a laugh, a smile, a secret shared. Something that says that they are a couple, and unfortunately, I did not get that at all. 

And this is surprising since Andrew is about to leave onto college, and they aren't spending every waking moment together?

Really? My bullcrap meter is going off.

If a loved one is leaving, then they should cling closer and not further away. 

So yeah, I had a huge problem with that. It's just unrealistic with teens. 

8. Formatting

This just bugged me a bit. It was a double spaced novel which is not how it's suppose to be. 

You can look at any traditional or indie published book and they are all, what?

Single space.

This is just a reflection of lack of research or just lack of care.

Overall, not only was I disappointed with the quality of the book, but the unwillingness of the author to change. 

I'm not saying the author was disrespectful, just the opposite actually. However, I am appalled that an author accepts mediocrity of her novels. 

I'm sorry, but what is the point of being an author if you accept not the best novels?

If you just want 3 star reviews?

If you don't want the best for your book, your readers and your audience, what is the point of being an author?

You might as well pack up shop and not write. If you do not want to write at your best, then you shouldn't be an author.

Bar none.

And if someone offers you free help to get you to the best potential you can be, then why say no?

Sure, I will be the first one to admit: She has four and five star reviews.

That seems to dictate that she has a good track record. Heck, I thought I got a jewel on my hands. Unfortunately, that did not turn out to be the case for the book and the author. 

And I know I've talked about having the best or none at all (check out the post here), no matter if you're traditionally or self-published. We now have access to high caliber editors, cover artists and formatters. 

So there is no excuse. 

But I would expect this whole revolution of self-publishers would motivate us to be the best for our readers, to make sure we are spending all of this money for a reason! 

Yet, I keep running into authors who do not care about the quality of their novels. Instead they choose to stand behind their mediocre book. 

I don't understand it whatsoever. All I can do is offer my help and my notes. What they do from there is up to them.

Has anyone else has run into this problem? Has anyone enjoyed Zia Marie's other novels? Or is it just me?

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