Goosebumps+Hatchet=The Devil Crept In.
I really had high hopes for this author. I did a Google search looking to see what the modern landscape offered for new authors and most things yielded surprisingly little, which is shocking, given one Amazon search yields millions. Ania showed up on a list, along with Mylo Carbia. I had hopes for Ania, but Mylo seemed more like a waste of time. My thoughts weren’t entirely unfounded, but sadly, they we’re not entirely accurate, either. So let us take a look at the book on a deeper level.
Two cousins, best friends, live in a small town called Deer Valley. It’s a weird place, ala Stephen King and Joe Hill, but there is something more afoot, something evil, perhaps and it isn’t long before both find themselves in for the fight of their lives.
We are treated to one, really good developed character. Two piss poorly developed characters through too much told back story, The rest are, well, pretty much just cunts to elicit sympathy from the reader. Alcoholic abusive stepdaddy, cliché I don’t believe my child mom, The douchebag older brother, think Buzz in Home Alone, Kindly old convenience store man and an aunt with nothing interesting about her. Stevie is the main focus and he is built well. I like him as a character. Jude is slightly more relatable, if you were ever the kind of child that marched to the beat of your own drum, which I did, but sadly, Jude wasn’t much developed past that and pretty much just labeled a nuisance for such.I’m not going to discuss the other two characters, because I would give too much away, in case you still want to read it.
When she isn’t bogging us down with backstory, she can be pretty decent, albeit, sparse writer. She reminds me more of Stephen King, but not as evocative as King, in terms of imagery. I think the biggest problem I have is with this being professionally done novel, with an editor, who is clearly inept. A running theme is “But” starting a sentence, when the last sentence didn’t need to end. Sometimes, you see the sentence as it should have been written, with just the “but” being the bridge of the sentence with or without comma. The word Tic for a mannerism, is spelled Tick throughout. Add in a few awkward analogies and it makes it seem like they rushed to print or the editor, as I said, was too inept. I’m not going to fault her here, because she is Polish, so English may be her second language and for the fact it isn’t her native tongue, she shows a lot of competency.
There is none, except for some autobiographical writing. Such as a woman immigrating from Poland and the fear of being a foreigner, a mention of an inability to write a romance novel, which if you read the acknowledgements, you will see the link to her and not to mention, I think there was fear about being a new mom, strewn throughout.
If she can improve the imagery of the world she is building, heighten up the suspense to actually make it scary, evenly build the characters, fix the few flaws with the style or find a better editor and pull back that exposition dump, she is well on track to actually being the next Stephen King, as opposed to Mylo Cabina, who pretty much called herself that. Outside of these few technical flaws, my only gripe with the book comes down to being able to call the entire ending by page 50 and the fact she has two narratives going back to back by the middle of the book, which wasn’t needed at all. It would have been better to perhaps made the child birth scene a prologue and stuck to one narrative, which, even with the bog of backstory, to build up Jude, would of made the pace of the book move faster. Still, I bought three of her other books on Kindle and plan to pick up a couple others, because I really feel she has a lot of potential. Either way, she is worth watching to see how she grows as a writer.
3 out of 5