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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Twisted Spiral - Did Not Finish, 2/5 Stars

Today, I am reviewing the Urban Fantasy-Time Travel novel The Twisted Spiral by Arlene Cabus Poerio. In this story, the protagonist is revealed to have special powers, the ability to ‘ken,’ or know things she should not otherwise know, and ends up time-travelling back to Ancient Egypt.

I was unable to finish this book, giving up after Chapter Three. I give it a 2/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 1.5/5. After reading three chapters, I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters, especially the protagonist. I didn’t care what was going on, or about her emotional distress or burning need to get to Egypt…it was all disjointed and felt unpalatable.

Plot/Storyline: 2/5. I don’t know what the final plot was, given that I couldn’t get through the book, but what I did read didn’t seem like much of anything. As I discuss in Flow, below, the constant flashbacks in the early portion of the novel did a lot to take the “steam” out of the read. I shouldn’t be three chapters in, not care about anyone, and not have any idea what’s going on or why it’s important..

Flow: 1/5. Ack! The whole first chapter is constant back-and-forth flashbacks used for exposition. Flashbacks are tricky things in the best of times, and when used this way they were like tire spikes to my verisimilitude and immersion. No, please. No.
Spelling/Grammar: 4/5. I didn’t notice any typographical errors, but the dialogue was often disjointed and felt contrived in some places. Nothing that I would flag if my attention had not already been aroused, but present nonetheless.

Overall: 2/5. I think that Ms. Poerio has some potential as a writer, and that this book could benefit from another round or two of content edits, looking to improve the flow. As it is, it starts too slowly and takes too long to get anywhere for my liking. 

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