So I wrote a review of sorts for this on Goodreads, and normally for a book like this, I wouldn’t bother with a “full” review. And to be fair, I’m not going to give it a complete full review. I can’t. You’ll see why. But in the end, the summary of everything I have to say about this book is this:
I have to warn the others.
So I have no idea how this book ended up in my library. It’s attached to my old/original Amazon account, and it’s the one that’s been there the longest. I have no memory of buying it. Looking at the blurb, I would not have picked it up from the blurb. There is literally no reason why this book should be in my library, and yet there it was. So since I’m trying to get through this insane amount of books in my Kindle/on my TBR, I figured why not. It was about time I read this book.
No hyperbole: I knew I was in trouble from the first sentence.
I try to be very fair about books, particularly when I know they’ve been self-published/indie published. I want to give everyone a chance, and help them succeed as they move forward. Constructive criticism is how we all become better at our craft. And I do like to stand by “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
I cannot stay silent.
So here’s the good parts: there are some interesting ideas in here. It reminds me a lot of THE HAZEL WOOD, in that there is a secret fantasy world that only a select few people know about, people with questionable home lives, and an uncertainty of whether or not that the magical world is a good place or not.
The rest…oh lordy.
I spent a good deal of the beginning of the book reading sentences to my family, trying to make sure that it wasn’t just me being baffled by the book. It was not just me. They didn’t understand either. Eventually I couldn’t anymore and had to just start making notes on my Kindle. A lot of them just say “WHAT” because nothing else would do.
There are 305 pages in the book. I took a count of notes starting around page 200 or so. I have 50 notes in those 100 pages. And there are so many more before that.
I’ve been looking through the notes, trying to find a few to share. I can’t. I can’t subject you to this. But I must. So here are some of the ones that stand better on their own:
- “He swooped down, while releasing the talons on his hooves.”
- “We finally removed the last few rocks, and I asked Rolf, ‘Has this always been here?’
‘I am not sure, it is new,” he sighed.”
- “Holden laughed with masculine excitement”
- “It soon turned white, making the back of my eyelids seem invisible. I could hear the piercing light, and the rumble it lead behind.”
- “They are more deadly than a pit bull fed gunpowder”
- “The smell of Cumberland had done his masculinity well”
- “It wasn’t too long before we became half way up the mountain.”
- “[…]I could feel myself fall into a pit. It was a short stop, because by the time I hit the ground, it did not seem so hard. Yet, the height of the pit was too tall for me.”
- “I scrunched my eyebrows together and looked at the other questionably.”
And then about a hundred or so versions of “I looked lower and seen that a six legged snake was now guarding the tree.” (Underlining is mine.)
I could keep going. I really could. But I don’t want to relive that much of this book. It’s really unfortunate, because like I said, there are some really potentially interesting ideas in here. And I hate to waltz in like I’m some kind of genius and pick apart writing like this, because I know full well that there are mistakes in my writing. I had a reviewer tell me I’d managed to have a character in two different places at the same time–and that got through my entire college program and no one noticed. We all have mistakes in our stuff.
But the level to which it’s in this book isn’t acceptable. I cannot believe this book ever crossed an editor’s desk.
A note of interest: it appears that this book was re-released with a new cover and title at some point along the line. BEYOND MAGIC by Amey Coleman is–if the sample and blurb from Amazon are to be believed–is the exact same book as CUMBERLAND.
I said on Goodreads that I had never wanted to give a book 0 stars more than this one. Well, here on the blog I can. It can have the dubious honor of being the only book with a 0 rating on my blog–a feat I wouldn’t have thought possible after THE CHASE, the awful Janet Evanovich/Lee Goldberg disaster.
Rating: 0 – RUN FOR THE HILLS