Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: Myriad by Mona Hanna

Expectations is a strange thing. Sometimes the things you expect the most from rewards you poorest whilst other things you dared not expect anything from turns out to be surprisingly good.

About the Author:

Mona Hanna is the author of the books "The Nature of God" and "God's Promises of Love." She has been a devotional writer since 2008, creating the blog Mona Hanna Devotions, focusing on expressing God's love, acceptance, and compassion. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Australia, with a sub major in professional writing. Mona is now writing fantasy books. "Myriad" is her first novella. - Taken from her Goodreads page.

Prentor #1
by Mona Hanna 
Self-published, 2012
102 pages

Last week I reviewed another story by this author, namely her paranormal romance High Witch. It surprised me a lot, sneaking its way up to a four star rating, a more than impressive feat for a story that belongs to a genre I don't really like.

This novella which is more in the vein of High Fantasy had all the indicators of being much more to my taste than the first one. And yet it was not. This story had much more in it than the first one. And yet my impression of it does not reflect that. This story did not touch me at all; it left me cold and uncaring. A sadly unimpressive feat for a story meant to be tragic.

I really like the idea of this story, I just don't think that it was done well enough. I loved the aspect of tragedy and yet I didn't feel it. I have been thinking about this a lot, trying to figure our what it is exactly that ruins it for me. I think in the end it is simply the depth that is lacking. I feel that everything about this story is only just brushing the surface of matters.

We get to know a bit about the sorrows of the main character and yet even that part seems a bit superficial. We see him fall in love and start a relationship that seems way too sweet and good to be real. The other characters we barely get to know, safe perhaps from Myriad whom we practically only see through the eyes of other characters.

The most intriguing character in the story was Myriad's servant, Edward, who was shrouded in mystery through most of the story. This is probably the one thing this story did have going for it.

This is the second story I read of Mona Hanna's and I have to say that her writing style is not particularly winning me over. I thought the plot here was good, but that a generic writing style dragged it down. I think a lot of the tragic things were told of rather than shown to us.

Even though I am lover of High Fantasy I do put a lot of value into stories that seem realistic. I am not saying to cut away the magic or anything, I just think it could have been done in a more believable way.

This story has some of the elements that can make a great story. If I simply brought those into the light and ignored the rest it would be quite easy for me to paint a picture of a much better story than this is. That would be cheating the facts of course. This story contains darkness and light, truth and lies, sorrow and love, betrayal and loss and revenge. It's got all of those things and yet it doesn't seem to work. 

Reading this story felt a lot like using an electronic device that lacked a few of its screws, causing it to only partially function. It felt wrong and annoying. As a writer myself I kept itching to change or add things to the story so that it might reach the potential it seems to have.

It is a real possibility that being a writer makes me a harsher critic as I recognise the cheap tricks writers use and get annoyed with them. I notice the language and if it is something less than outstanding I grind my teeth in frustration. But then, a lot of people who read also write; any story wanting success has to be able to withstand the mercilessness of a fellow writer's critique.

In the end rating a book is something completely individual. Others might see the good elements and relish them. They might accept the standardised language without question. I cannot do so. I cannot ignore the deficiencies that I sense in stories like this. Therefore this will be rated among the bland and the unfullfilling. Two stars does not equal bad but rather boring and insignificant; this story adds nothing whatsoever to the genre and could as well never have been written.

See also my more positive review of Mona Hanna's High Witch.

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