Wednesday, June 27, 2012

When Copper Suns Fall by KaSonndra Leigh

My Rating: 1.0 / 5.0

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book free from the author via a Goodreads giveaway, in return for a honest review.

Chela Prizeon is fifteen years old, living in one of the cities that are remnants of the US in 2067. She is part Angel, which makes her forbidden, because the Angels of Light and Dark and their agents triggered the war that destroyed most of civilization. Chela has a twin brother who fell from a fairground attraction a year ago. She is convinced that he was pushed but the official conclusion is that he tried to commit suicide. Now he is in a coma and infected with an incurable disease. Chela herself begins to see unusual children around her and suddenly manifests the power of the memories that she has inherited from her almost-angel, dead mother. This may or may not be connected to the curious blackouts that she has suffered since she was a child.

I am afraid that I cannot tell you any more about the plot or setting, because I did not finish the book.

The reason I requested a copy of this novel was quite simple: the premise looked interesting and original. Unfortunately, the book itself is confused, confusing and not particularly well written. 

As well as the part-Angels we also have genetically modified humans with supernatural talents. These are supposedly caused by radiation from the war. The story would have greatly benefited from choosing one of these ideas and discarding the other: personally, I would have ditched the genetic mutants because it is not original. Even without the ‘About the Author’ note that states that she calls her two sons “the X-men”, I would have spotted that blatant steal from Marvel Comics. However, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring a world destroyed by a war between two opposing factions of Angels and their offspring. I genuinely wanted to read that story, but I felt that the author was not confident enough in her writing to follow the old adage: Keep It Simple. She introduced too many concepts too quickly and with too little detail. For example, we are told that Alchemy is banned, but have no description of what it is, although there does seem to be a suggestion that it is the powers that can be used by the part-Angels.  

The plotting is poor and therefore stretches the suspension of disbelief to breaking point. For example, the first six chapters all take part during one day. In that time our heroine has time to visit her sick brother, argue with his doctor, work a shift for her friend, then go to meet that friend, have scary experiences at the fairground where her brother was injured, get stuck in a porta-potty, escape from a porta-potty whilst awakening her powers, use her powers again to make a door slam, get caught by the police, go to a club, witness a weird assault involving some other part-Angels, get her memory wiped, escape as the club is destroyed and then black out. This strikes me as a little too busy for one day and I am not even going to question her desperate rush to discover who pushed her brother one whole year after it happened.

The dialogue is clunky and the descriptions suffer from an overloading of adverbs, similes and metaphors. The writing feels as if the author is trying far too hard to make it dramatic, with the effect that it is cluttered and heavy-handed. Some of the lines had me laughing out loud, and not in a good way.

As for our heroine, Chela is your standard cardboard cutout “Spunky Young Gifted Savior”. She is different. She gets very angry, but controls herself because she must hide how amazingly powerful she is. Her mother is dead, but she has a not very nice stepmother. She is the only one who is right about her brother. Her father is someone important so she feels entitled to special treatment. No one understands her. She has had a life-long interest in fencing, so no doubt she is an Epic Warrior. She does Too Stupid To Live stuff all the time and yet survives. She has a hot male friend to be platonic with. People in positions of authority are never justified in speaking to her as if she is a fifteen-year-old child. I am absolutely sure that she will prove to be The Only One who can save the world. 

In short, there are some good ideas here, but the book needs some serious editing to simplify the plotting and the prose quite dramatically, while Chela needs a lot of work to make her more believable and sympathetic.

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