Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Beast Within by Julie Evans

This book is a struggle for me – because when I write a DNF review I normally have a minimum read requirement. I try to read at least a decent percentage of the book before I put it down and say “no, I can’t do this. I won’t do this. I don’t deserve this!”

This book is a little over 100 pages long, so reading a decent chunk wouldn’t be so hard… I tried to convince myself.

No… this was horrendous. I could not endure my way to half way, reaching a quarter is out of the question

I am trying not to be excessively cruel about this. I mean I didn’t drop this book because it was offensive, insulting or outrageous. I dropped it because it has, quite simply, some of the worst writing I have ever read. Quite possibly the worst. I actually spent a decent chunk of the last week grabbing random friends and demanding they read 5 pages to check to see if I were hallucinating.

I was not. I even had to resist the urge to email the publisher back and ask if they were serious, was it April Fools, were they trolling me and/or if they realised they had an editor who was being bribed by the competition?

Here is an excerpt of text:

So when Em came around this morning with the groceries I asked her to get me, she said that I was going out with her tonight, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer. When I went to protest she held her arms up in the air, and said“Stop there before you say another word, you are coming out with me and that’s that so don’t argue, I know it was awful what happened but it was nearly four months ago, and you need to start getting out of the flat and back in the land of the living, so you are coming out with me tonight, to the new club that hasn’t been opened all that long, up in town: Crimson Moon. So I’ll pick you up about 9 o’clock, so be ready.”
“Okay but I’m not staying out too late, just for a few hours.”
“Great, that’s fine. I’ll see you later Kat, and make sure you’re ready.”
“Fine, see you later.” With that, she was gone.

Behold that SPLURGE of awful. The whole book is like this. The whole book. Here is some scintillating romantic dialogue with the designated love interest:

“Sure, why not. I’m going to sit down when I get my drink if you want to join me.” When we got back to the table he introduced himself as Ethan.
“I’m Katerina, but people call me Kat.”
“Well, nice to meet you Kat.”
“You here with someone?” Ethan asked.
“Just some friends there on the dance floor.” When I looked over Tony and Ben were dancing with a couple of girls, Em was dancing with a man, and Jane and Steve must have gone off to do their own thing.
“What about you?” I asked.
“The same as you,” he said, pointing to a group of men standing at the bar. After a while he asked if I wanted to dance.
“My feet wouldn’t appreciate it, as I’m not used to wearing heels,” I said.
Ethan just laughed and said, “Fair enough, so would you like another drink?”
“No thank you, I’m fine, I was thinking about heading back home when I’ve finished this one.”
“Oh, so you’re bored with me already?”
“No, I’ve had a lovely time talking to you, but it’s the first time I’ve been out for a while and I’m getting quite tired now, and my feet have had enough of these shoes


It was late in the afternoon when I called Kat, she answered after a couple of rings. “Hi Kat, it’s Ethan from last night.”
“Hi I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon.”
“Oh, sorry I can call you back later if you want.”
“No that’s fine it’s just a surprise that’s all.”
“Good or bad surprise?”
“Good of course.”
“Great I was thinking as it's Sunday tomorrow I could take you out for lunch instead of coffee, if you haven’t got anything else planed.”
“No that sounds lovely. What time and where?”
“2.30 okay? At the Little Bell, it’s just a small pub in town; they do the best meals, I can pick you up if you like.”
“No that’s fine I’ll just meet you there if that’s okay?”
“Yes that’s fine I’ll see you there

I couldn’t. I just couldn’t wade through this – after an utterly clumsy infodump and painful conversation bringing up vampires and werewolves and that was it, I was done. I can’t get at the story, I can’t at the characters, I can’t get at anything except for the morass of writing.