August 4, 2012
Confusing: Dark Side of the Moon
Published January 2010 by Ahmad Taylor
Read July 2012
When I was sent the pitch for this book, I was not going to accept it for review. While the premise was something I thought I would possibly enjoy, the pitch needed work. I learned early on that you can tell a lot about how the book will be from the pitch. Also, the manuscript was attached in the initial pitch email, which is a pet peeve of mine. However, Ahmad was to be a guest on The Indie Exchange Book Bloggers radio show, so I thought I should read it as prep work. You can listen to the show here.
I was confused for the first third of the book. No where in the pitch or the book summary does it mention that the writing style is stream of consciousness. I am not a fan of this writing style. I read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf in high school. I had to give an hour presentation and I knew this unique style would give me plenty to talk about. However, I knew it would not be a style I would voluntarily read again.
About halfway through I caught on to what was happening as you are pretty much told by another character. However, the sequence of Jeanie's training with her father didn't really seem to fit in to the stream of consciousness style as the main character is not seen in the scenes.
By 75% I had figured it out and felt let down by the ending. When I reviewed Revenge, I asked you if you liked to figure out the mystery before the characters do. I actually don't. I want the big Aha! moment with the characters. I love nothing more than see all the pieces and hints dropped throughout the story to come together and the answer revealed through the realization by the character. Like I said I was two-thirds through and knew the ending. Except I didn't expect the story to end with the character's realization. I thought there would be more resolution to the storyline. Again, both the summary and pitch failed to mention that this was book 1 in a series. I learned during the interview, which made the ending a bit more tolerable.
I thought the story idea was great, but was disappointed with the execution of the plot. While some of the flaws in the story that bugged me may have to do with what is really happening (I'm trying hard not to include spoilers in this review), I think they kept me from immersing myself in the story. As a scientist, I had a hard time believing that scientific protocol would be abandoned nor did the story set the universe up to make it believable. A bit more attention to editing in the later part of the book would have helped to. I was distracted by misuse of words. For example, when discussing the research to increase the shelf life of their food,
"Your father had been toying with the idea of improving the length of time rations remained viable for edification."
According to Dictionary.com, edification means "improvement, instruction, or enlightenment, especially when morally or spiritually uplifting." I can only come to the conclusion the wrong word was used.
My copy also had some formatting issues where the font would change mid-sentence or even mid-word that I found distracting. This may not be true for the Kindle version as my copy is not a mobi file.
Maybe the problems I saw in the story will be explained later in the series. However, my interest was not piqued enough nor a strong enough emotional connection to the characters was formed to have me seeking out the sequel.
Dark Side of the Moon has received some great praise on Goodreads. I think this is one of those books that appeals to a certain group of readers and I just happen not to be that set of readers.