One dung Beetle
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.