Monday, January 18, 2016

Glimmerings of a Good Story

Review: The Shimmering by H.D. Anyone

Let's start with the author's name. Perhaps his patronym is "Anyone." I'm willing to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, but it's a suspicious start when selecting a book to read. I nominated this book in Kindle Scout despite that name and the slightly hokey cover illustration, because its short description sounded likely:

Lance Edgerton resents being moved to a ghost town and sets out to disprove the supernatural lore with the intent of ruining the local tourism, but his investigations prove to the contrary when he uncovers a crystal cavern revealing The Shimmering, which enables him to confront the evil altering the old mining town of Jerome.

I thought the story premise was promising, and the first pages of the novel gave me no clues that it would not fulfill that promise. I was especially encouraged by the high-school science teacher's lecture on crystals:
“Some of the locals would have you believe there are healing properties in crystals.  I don’t know anything about that.  The only mystical property they possess, and of which I am aware, is the power of protection.  If you locate an exceptionally large geode, you can strike someone on the head with it for protection.”  His yardstick hit the board.  “That was a demonstrative whack.”

The book was not selected for publication by Kindle Press, but I bought a copy anyway. Unfortunately, after the first encouraging pages, the story rapidly descends into exactly the kind of woo-woo crystal-power nonsense the chemistry teacher inveighs against at the beginning.

Although this was disappointing from one perspective (science), the story is nevertheless solid and engrossing. Lance and his friends Manuel and Whisper explore, make discoveries about their environment and the town's history, and become more interesting people. In that sense, it is a worthwhile YA novel, and I found it enjoyable to read. 

I hope that H.D. Anyone finds the courage to come out from under the pseudonym to write again. With growth and practice, the story-telling skills can only improve. He already has a solid base to begin from.

Liner Notes:

This is another in a long string of first-time books from authors who publish in e-book format only, who have chosen to hard-code the double-line text-spacing into the book's format. It is very annoying to have the tools to change font faces, text size, and line spacing on the Kindle Paperwhite, and yet be prevented from it by poor formatting choices in the book. I was tempted, but did not take a half-star from the rating, principally because Anyone is a new author. Anyone can learn.