Hello readers! Today marks the end of the week, which also means it’s the end of the Novel Publicity whirlwind blog tour for David Litwack. But that means the beginning of other good things tomorrow–the weekend, of course, which is always good–but this Monday will be better than most, because the prizes for this tour will be awarded. Make sure to enter–it’s super easy; you can click on the widget on the bottom right-hand corner of my blog for directions. Even commenting here counts as an entry! Prizes include $50, $100, or a Kindle Fire! I am crossing all my fingers and toes for the latter prize, at least, while I’m not typing. 😉
Yesterday, I posted a few excerpts of There Comes a Prophet. Today, I will be sharing my review of the book.
This will be my most in-depth review to date, so let me explain my reviewing style. As a reader, I HATE spoilers. When my sister accidentally spoiled something in City of Bones to me, I stomped around the house, shouting “NO,” trying to erase the spoiled plot point from my mind. Alas, it was of no use. Part of the beauty of reading is in the discovery, I think, so I am very careful not to give away secrets of the text when I review.
As a writer and an editor, I put a lot of value on the language itself used to tell a tale. A 10/10 review for me will be one with an amazing plot, characters I love, and enchanting writing. I can’t get lost in a book without falling under the spell of its words–and the spell will be ineffectual without a great plot to fall into.
With that said, please enjoy my review.
Review: David Litwack’s There Comes a Prophet
Let me begin by saying I was quite impressed with this book as a debut novel. The style is what I would call a young-adult high fantasy dystopia, a world similar to what ours might have been in the Renaissance with a little magic thrown in. I think, like most young-adult books, that this book would appeal to a wide range of people aged 13 and up.
The world: I thought the world was a clever set-up. It was easy to understand, but not cliche. The scenery was descriptive and realistic; I could picture myself there. The totalitarian society was more shades of Brave New World than Fahrenheit 451–it was that the ruling force (here, the Temple) wanted to control society and development, not that citizens themselves wanted vapid lives. That being said, I thought the world was creative and stood on its own, without requiring prior reading of dystopian books. As a reader, I felt real fear of the Temple, especially because I loved–
The characters: Hands-down, the best aspect of the book. Everyone was unique from each other. The three main characters were lovable and noble, but they still made mistakes, which made them realistic and gave them room to grow. I really cared about them, and they stayed with me after I finished the book. I also appreciated how the secondary characters had their own identities and were memorable in and of themselves.
The plot was also unique, and it felt neither gimmicky nor contrived. I was impressed with the pacing, too, something I think even veteran writers struggle with. Like I said, I don’t want to give away plot, but I was happy to discover early on that the book matched my preferred style of dystopia: passionate characters who set out to change the world. I think I love that so much because it’s like real life, in a way. Nothing is perfect, and we are all faced with choices, every day, if we want to maintain the status quo or make a difference. The latter is what I strive for, in my life and in my books.
The language was really the only part were I felt the book fell short. Again, for a first book, I was still impressed. There were no glaring errors that felt sloppy or rushed. However, I did see room for improvement in the author’s subsequent work. I felt a little distant from the characters; although I loved them, I felt like I was being told what they thought by an intermediary, rather than having direct insight into their thoughts. It was a little too much “hand-holding,” as one of my favorite writing teachers, Hannah Pittard, told me in my early grad school career–and she was right. It’s important to leave a little interpretation for readers without characters doing all of it for them. The language was a little stilted, and I wanted to paint over the text with a glossy brush to make it a little more polished. The characters and plot had heart, but I wanted to be pulled in a bit more. As a veteran of writing workshops, my suggestion to Litwack would be to try writing a scene from first-person point-of-view for some of these characters, even as a practice exercise to convert into third-person later on. I think you might learn a little intimacy from them, and they might reveal things to you that would be hard to see from the outside-looking-in. Of all the aspects of writing, though, I feel this is the easiest to improve on, so Litwack is in a good position as an author.
Review: 7/10. Well-done! I look forward to reading other works by this author.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, both Along the Watchtower and There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack are on sale this week. What’s more, by purchasing either or both of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.
The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $650 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of each book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
- Pick up Along the Watchtower at its discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon
- Get There Comes a Prophet at its discounted price of 99 cents
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- Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.
There Comes a Prophet A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a time of violence and social collapse. Nathaniel has grown up in their world of limits, longing for something more. For what are we without dreams? Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.