Review: 1000

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Dung Beetle

One dung Beetle
(1 out of 4 rating)

I haven’t written a negative review in a while, and I thought it was time, before people start to think I’ve gone soft. [I mention why I’m doing fewer negative reviews on my revised About Page.] So, beetles, roll this ball of dung away:

A combination of the author trying to be mysterious (I think) and a botched translation to English (I’m sure) make this story practically unreadable. There are spelling errors that would have been picked up by any English-language spell checker, and some bizarre word substitutions: inspire and expire were used in place of inhale and exhale, for example. The only reason I was able to figure out that particular example was that the two words were used in back-to-back sentences. Either one used alone would have just left me confused, as the rest of the story did. If I had been reading purely for entertainment, I would have deleted this book after a page or two. However, as I’m a reviewer, I decided to struggle on.

The plot? I barely comprehended it while reading, and forgot it immediately afterward. My reward for sticking with it until the end? Scenes of rape, murder, infanticide, cannibalism, and suicide.

I think the primary lesson here is: be careful when having your work translated. I know that’s kind of wishy-washy, but I don’t have a good solution. If you don’t speak a language, and don’t have a friend who’s fluent in it, how can you tell if a translation is flawless or garbage? If you have any ideas, drop them in the comments section below.

I think there’s a second lesson as well: the tone and content of a marketing blurb should match the tone and content of the story. Nothing in this story’s blurb prepared me for the ugly things I read. For another example of this, see “where are my space pirates?” in one of my earliest reviews.

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6 comments

  1. Hahaha – gold.
    Tip of the hat too – As a person who deliberately scans reviews to ensure I only read things of at least a minimum of quality, I feel its important to recognise those reviewers who ‘fall on their swords’ and filter out the dross so that we do not need to.
    Thanks.
    KT

  2. I followed the book’s link to Amazon and its (mercifully brief) blurb and I noticed that it’s as obscure and badly written as your description of the book itself. I’ll second the previous commenter motion to acknowledge your strength and courage in reaching the end of the story – not a mean feat indeed…

    1. I’m really glad I picked this one up on a free promotion day.

  3. It sounds as if even google translate could do a better job. Echoing wildbilbo here thanks for reading it so i dont have to. 🙂

  4. I think that ‘inspire’ and ‘expire’ at least used to have some currency in medicine as denoting stages of the breathing cycle, but outside that role as essentially terms of art they are weird choices.

    1. That could be the reason for those particular word translations, then. If they were intentional English choices, very weird indeed.

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