Sunday, January 27, 2013

Good read:

I've just finished Malcolm R. Campbell's The Sun Singer and I really enjoyed it. It's the story of Robert Adams, a high school-aged boy, and his gift of precognitive dreams. Although he foresees the tragic death of his best friend's sister, he's unable to prevent it and so he shoves his ability aside, refusing to engage it. When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Robert resurrects his gifts in order to complete a task left undone by his beloved grandfather. The story has parallel universes, portals, synchronicity, and magic -- all deliciously woven together.

The book's back cover contains this label: Contemporary Mythic Adventure. I quite agree.

Although I really enjoyed the story, I feel like I have to say a few words about the beginning chapter. I found it awkward, choppy, amateurish, filled with grammatical errors, and full of one-dimensional characters (of which only two get filled out by story's end). There's also this weird script/layout that occurs on page one and shows up periodically throughout the book, where the prose divides into two columns and the text on the left continues in the standard typeface while the text in the right column is italicized. The intent, I believe, is to showcase, simultaneously, two opposing thoughts/reactions of/by one character to a given situation. The result, in my opinion, is so confusing and odd that it does more harm than good. The whole of this chapter was so off-putting that had the story not gotten pretty quickly to the good stuff, i.e., parallel universe, I would've abandoned the read. And speaking of the "good stuff," I found that although the lack of proof reading was still evident (thought instead of though, then instead of than, etc.), there wasn't any of the awkwardness in phrasing or abrupt switching from one speaker to the next that characterized much of the opening chapter. It was very smooth and very engaging, which makes me think Mr. Campbell was really in his element while composing this part of the story. The downside is that it highlights just how disintegrated the opening chapter is with the rest of the book; it makes it feel like an afterthought.

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