Ahavah Ehyeh (ahavah) wrote,
Ahavah Ehyeh

Becoming Human, by Eliza Green

Edited to MOST STRONGLY add: This author argued with my review both here on my blog (which you can see in comments) and much, much more over on my Amazon review. She WOULD NOT STOP until several other people chimed in to echo my Seriously, do not be that author comments. Such bad form and horrible unprofessionalism! I most strongly urge everyone to avoid her novels. Damned shame, but it wasn't near worth the grief, and I cannot in good conscience leave anything remotely encouraging others to give her a chance.

Becoming Human, by Eliza Green, is my 'Post-Apocalyptic novel written by a woman' choice for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge. In theory, because while dystopian, it wasn't really post- (more mid-), nor was it really apocalyptic. Kind of a slow burning out of earth rather than cataclysm & destruction. Irked me to be publicized as such, and it seems a trick for SEM. EDITED TO ADD: The author has pointed out that it's apocalyptic from the Indigene's point of view. I'd neglected to consider that since I was thinking of the 'ruined Earth' description, but that's absolutely true.

Becoming Human

I'm kind of sitting at 2.5-3 stars for this. It was disappointing and I nearly DNF several times, but the writer clearly has some skill (for all that she seriously needs an editor). 'Good for a self-pub' doesn't seem star-worthy.

The idea is intriguing, and one I favor: Earth is dying off, and humans need to relocate to another planet. We open with terraforming chemicals wreaking havoc on the Indigenes, forcing them undergound and starting a chain reaction of both Indigenes and humans trying to figure out WTF is going on. While obviously thought out and working with known science, it was still hard to believe all these technological changes (including FTL travel) being plausible in the next 150 years, let alone while simultaneously killing off much of the entire planet.

I think it could have been a 4-5 star book with editing. As it is, the descriptions are often overwrought and occasionally hard to follow – a whole paragraph describing various hand movements when she could have said “He spun through the images and enlarged section yadda yadda...”, for example. There's a lot of very amateur character descriptions akin to 'This is Bill, who has grey-flaked hair, average height, and a pot belly' and 'Dr. Whatsit, whose black hair was slicked back in a tight bun, her green eyes flashing, and genetic mods taking a good 20 years off her face'. For EVERY character. Lots of info-dumping, including the verboten dialogue dump that starts with 'As you know/As you are aware...' Repetition that could have been cut. Etc. Editors! A self-pub must!

There are also a number of grammar issues that pulled me from the story, and these weren't any kind of confusion between British & American English (for all that regional word choices in characters from other regions stood out). These were like quick vs. quickly and, one of my huge peeves, using 'peaked' instead of 'piqued'.

There seems to be, for me, an uncomfortable level of misogyny as well. First I thought it was maybe just the one character, and I was supposed to dislike him, but no, many characters, including female characters, had to pontificate over stereotypes in the gender binary and denigrate women in their personal musings.

Okay, I guess that despite all the promise – or maybe because of it – I'm now leaning closer to the 2-star side rather than 3. I did finish it, and I was pleased that it picked up in the back half, but it lost my goodwill with an unsatisfactory ending. They cleared up -one- question that I had held in there for (and, yes, I had called it super-early, like back in chapter 3 or 4), but then it just cut off abruptly. To set up for book 2, of course. Had this one been executed just a little bit better, I'd probably go on to the next book, but it just seemed like too much work for too little pay off. It's got tons of gushing 4- and 5-star reviews though, so maybe I'm too picky. Check it out if the concept appeals to you, and let me know what you think.
Tags: books, dumbasses, readathon, reviews, writing, wtf

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