One of the stranger experiences for me as a reader is when I find myself mentally editing the novel I’m reading. I think I may do this more after NaNoWriMos, when my brain is in writing mode, but either way it’s happened to me on multiple occasions.
Last week I read The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, which is a YA fantasy following young Twylla, the embodiment of a mythic figure in her kingdom. Her special powers? She can kill with her touch, which lends itself to a role as the queen’s executioner.
The opening chapter was a bit lackluster. Obviously we need some introduction to the mythology of the country, and also an opportunity to see Twylla use her powers, but as I was reading, I felt several parts should be rearranged, and I realized I knew exactly how I would do it.
As I got more into the book, my inner editor got much quieter. There were some big twists, and characters that felt nearly realistic (and a stupid love triangle). I read the whole thing straight through. The ending indicates that (duh) there will be more books. I probably won’t read them. The pieces were all there, they just weren’t quite put together perfectly.
Last year in my fit of YA dystopian readings, I came across the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. This trilogy was so well plotted and paced I just had to keep reading. The problem? The prose. When it was good it was fine, but when it was bad…I found myself re-writing it in my head.
This one really messed with my head, because there were times when I thought, That sounds like something I would write. And then I proceeded to tear it apart and make it better. My driving need to edit my own writing is one reason I fail at NaNoWriMo; I just cannot stop my editing. One more symptom of my perfectionist personality.
The Sin Eater’s Daughter (Melinda Salisbury)–2.5/5 stars
The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials/The Death Cure (James Dashner)–3/5 stars
The Kill Order (James Dashner)–2/5 stars, skip this prequel!