Monday, December 22, 2014

Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown

Author:  Samuel Snoek-Brown
Publisher:  Columbus Press
Pages: 252
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

As the Civil War winds violently down, fears of the South's uncertain future fuse with its unraveling traditions. Against the backdrop of this post-apocalyptic landscape, so littered with corpses and mythology and desperation, two women, stranded and alone in the Louisiana bayou, fight to survive.

To be honest with you, I had a lot of trouble getting through this book. While the writer does have some talent and there is some good writing in the bones of this novel, there were just some stylistic things that bugged me at a point it made it difficult to even read. Between the confusing opening, to the odd writing style, I admit, I just couldn't get over some of my first impressions. 

The one thing that I severely disliked was the lack of quotation marks in Hagridden. Dialog was just throw in here and there and there was nothing to separate it from the rest of the text. I know, Samuel Snoek-Brown isn't the first author to use this technique, but it personally just distracting for me and interrupts the flow of a book. The speech itself did give a nice impression of the area and the people in the story, but I felt like I was often backtracking when I hit conversation to read it as intended. 

The other thing that gets annoying is the two women in this story never get names. Everyone around them is given an identity, but the main characters remain faceless. Again, this is a stylistic thing, but it made it hard for me to relate to them. When you start the story with so much distance, it makes it hard to immerse yourself.

The story itself was interesting. The pacing to start was awkward (I don't even know how to explain it, but it was just difficult to read. The perspectives felt off, and it sort of had that 'shaky camera angle' type feel to it), but after the first chapter it was easier to read. The story had a strong sense of place, and you could feel like you were in the correct point in history, which is always a plus with historical novels. Characters felt dynamic, and there was a good mix of events happening (romance, drama, suspense). It's a bit hard for me to talk about the story since the main characters don't have names, but the relationship dynamics were unique to see. I liked the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship because it's a bit unusual. I also liked seeing their struggles with the husband of the girl out of the picture. 

Overall, the bones were really nice. Just some overlying problems that really kept me from getting into things. Other readers may really like this, but it wasn't the book for me in the end. 

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