Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book Review: Cursed by Diamonds by JK Ensley

Well, I figured that it was about time for me to post another book review. I actually finished this novel quite a while ago, but I wanted to take my time with the review - because this was a self-published book, and to be honest, I didn't care for it. And I don't like that I didn't care for it, because I think that some great novels can come from self-publishing and I generally prefer to give them good reviews or to simply not review them at all.

The thing is, this book has nothing but 5 star reviews everywhere, and while I suppose that I can see why some people would enjoy it...I feel a need, almost, to put in my own two cents.

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One of the first things I noticed when reading Cursed by Diamonds was that every character was described as essentially being perfect. They were all amazingly handsome or beautiful, they were all kind and intelligent, and they all cared for each other deeply.

I felt like I was reading a Twilight knock off, to be honest.

But to be completely honest, I'm generally a cynic, so I pushed on...only to be struck in the face with another absurdity. That being that the main character, Jenevier, was "in love" with every man she met - basically at first sight - and of course, every single one of them loved her back. Immediately. Completely unrealistic, of course, but I told myself that this was a fantasy novel and continued trudging on.
 
Now, the author did explain in a sort of introduction that this novel was supposed to have a sort of circular timeline - the problem was that at times, the story and its layout were completely nonsensical. The very beginning and very end met at the same place, but everything in the middle was jagged and all over the place...not to mention the fact that for such a long book, years worth of time were just skipped over completely. A lot of this could have been rectified by splitting this into two or even three novels.

The chapter titles were another mystery to me. At first I thought that they were meant to designate which character's point of view the chapter would be in - a la the Song of Ice & Fire series - but no chapter was ever entirely in the named character's point of view. Thankfully this error can be rectified fairly easily - the chapter titles, or the use of them at all, simply need(s) to be re-thought.

Grammatically, the over-use of commas and under-use of semicolons honestly made the book difficult to read more often than not. Granted, I'm pretty picky about these things, so to an extent I can push aside questionable technique...to an extent. But if it wasn't this, or any one of the aforementioned things, tearing me out of this story and this world, it was the fact that the author is in dire need of finding her voice...or at least of choosing the direction she wants to take with the language of her story, and sticking to it. Most of the time the language in Cursed by Diamonds is very formal - both when the characters are speaking and when the author is being descriptive - but then random modern phrases and words would suddenly pop up in the narrative, serving to pull me out of the world that the author clearly worked very hard to create.

In conclusion, I have to say that with a slough of edits, this book has promise. I'll admit that the "too perfect" characters and my dislike of them is probably more of a personal preference (or rather, in this case, non-preference) than anything. JK Ensley obviously has a wonderful imagination, and I think that she also has enough talent, to make this novel into something more readable - with the help of proper editors, that is. For these reasons, I give Cursed by Diamonds 2/5 stars.

"'It is not in my nature to lie...A wonderful trait to possess, I should think. But, some people get real offended when you tell them the truth all the time.'"

"'How are you going to make me hate you now, Warrior? Now that I know you care?'
'I have my ways,' he sneered." Pin It

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