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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Plain of the Fourteen Pillars by T.K. Foster - Prematurely Published

Today, I am reviewing the YA Fantasy/Portal story Plain of the Fourteen Pillars by T.K. Foster. In this book, a young man playing in the woods encounters a strange female creature who ushers him into another world. I freely admit that I made it to chapter eight before I had to put this book down, but I will do my best to explain why.

As a DNF (did not finish), I give this book a 2/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 2.5/5. These guys could be interesting, I think, but they are hampered by the writing style and the absurdity. As it stands, I made it to chapter eight without caring about the main character or the creature that brought him into her world. Their dialogue was stilted, their conversations seemed mostly irrelevant. I understand that this is a YA story, but the discussions between them felt more like those between a five-year-old and his imaginary friend.

Plot/Storyline: 1.5/5. Everything seemed random, thrown together, a parody of the tropes of the clich├ęs of the genre. Eight chapters in and I didn’t know what any of the points were beyond the classic “I’m in a weird, strange place and I want to go home but @$% doesn’t let me.”

Flow: 3/5. This was the best aspect of the novel—while far from great, the pacing and flow felt solid. It’s hard to judge because of the other distractions, but I think that Foster is probably well-read and has an intuitive understanding for how a story should move.
Spelling/Grammar: 3/5. I’ve seen worse, but Plain has a fair amount of misplaced commas, splices, misused words, and spelling errors. I get the feeling that this book was rushed to publication; another round or two of content editing and proofreading is badly needed.

Overall: 2/5. I wanted to like this book. I’m a fan of portal fantasies, and I enjoy good YA stories. Unfortunately, Foster failed at providing a compelling opening, a reason to care about his characters, or an actual sense of story. I give this two stars because I think there could be a story here, there could be interesting characters. I hope that Foster takes this to heart with his next work, spending a little more time to develop ideas and communicate them on the page.

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