I had a fun idea yesterday: Sit down and review a book that I wrote, pretending as if I had nothing to do with its creation. So, here goes… For those who haven’t read Remnant, you can purchase it here.
Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Well… That was certainly a different kind of read.
This novel seems to be, at least in part, inspired by George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, in that it is written with each chapter being from a different character’s point of view. While that is unconventional, it is also sometimes annoying, because I would find myself becoming heavily invested in the character I’m following, and then right when something important is about to happen, the story jumps over to someone else. This is not unheard of in books, but most books don’t jump around with the passing of every single chapter, and for a good reason. I generally like to follow one or two characters throughout a story, so that I can get to know them more intimately.
However, this is not to say that the format ruined the book for me. I would say it merely subtracted a little from it. The silver lining is, though, that I got to know even more characters than I normally would have. Remnant seems to be (and correct me if I’m wrong here) about all of the characters, not just a specific one. By the end, it seemed everyone’s storyline, including the villain Isaac, came to a complete conclusion. Mercy wanted to have a family again, Seth wanted to have a purpose, Isaac simply wanted to survive, and of course, Theia wanted to find her father and vice-versa. So, the different points of view thing… I can get on board with that, but let’s just say I’m glad not every book is written like this.
Looking back, I’m not entirely sure if the book’s main-main character was Theia or Mercy. Perhaps it was both? I did notice that at the beginning, Mercy loses the only family she has left, and by the end of the book, she gets a family again by adopting Theia. Mercy did seem to have the most chapters by far. But at the same time, the first and last chapters are from Theia’s perspective. Maybe the novel is just one story that’s comprised of several smaller stories. I don’t know. It’s good, but different. It certainly got me thinking after I was done reading.
Some of the violence seemed just plain unnecessary. For example, Adam’s death. What was this character even in the book for if only to die a third of the way into it? There are many deaths in this book, and they’re all pretty violent deaths. After a while, I couldn’t help but become desensitized to it, which is never good. That’s why I would recommend, in the future, that you not have so much death in your stories again, because it causes readers to not even care after a while. You lose their emotional investment in the characters. It also makes it a little predictable, because you just start to expect literally EVERYONE to die by the end. I was shocked that a couple of characters survived.
A lot of the writing was well-done, but there were times when you went into details that weren’t important, or you’d do the opposite and not explain certain things enough. This is your first novel, isn’t it? So I guess that should be expected. Nobody finds their groove on the first try. Still though, the novel could have benefited from a professional editor. I was glad that there weren’t many typos or grammatical errors. This problem wasn’t excessive though. It didn’t ruin the experience for me.
Overall, a fairly good novel, especially for a first-timer. If you were a veteran novelist, I would have given 3 stars, but since it was your first, I was impressed. The book is definitely deserving of a professional editor and I hope one day it receives such treatment. I like that it seemed to be about people finding hope when there doesn’t seem to be any. Another theme I noticed is: no character is exactly how they first seem to be, especially the character of Ethan (who I noticed doesn’t have a single chapter of his own). It’s a pretty serious book, and it’s obviously not designed to pander. I’m glad that it required me to think, because when I picked this up, I certainly didn’t expect to read something that made me think so much. Keep up the good work and please never sell out.
This is Michael, writing for PhilosophyMedia.org. Subscribe for more.