Well I did it. I DNF’d my first book since I started the blog. And let me tell you I feel horrible about it. I know I shouldn’t, and everyone has been telling me not to feel horrible about it for all the right reasons, but I do. Mostly because it was a book sent to me by a newish indie publisher trying to get the word out about their books. And mostly because I HATE not finishing a book. Can you have two mostly’s? Cuz I just did. Even before I started blogging and reviewing I hardly ever DNF’d a book even when I knew I should have. But as I’m getting older and realizing there’s a finite number of books I can read before I kick the bucket I’ve decided to accept that if I’m just not liking it I don’t have to finish it.
<Sigh> So, OK. Here we go…
“The Vyndral invasion catches planet Rafia by surprise. The capital city of Vyloli falls within hours. With thousands of hostages’ lives at stake, the Rafian military can only watch and wait. Vai, a skilled computer system engineer, and Edam, a man with no past, manage to make their way out of Vyloli with a piece of information that may be the key to freeing the hostages and saving their homeworld.
With the fate of their planet the balance, a small band of inexperienced Rafians must come together as a team to stop the new Vyndral threat. The plan requires extraordinary skill, courage, and ultimately, sacrifice. Racing against the clock and facing incredible odds, do Vai, Edam, and the team have what it takes?
From new author, Joseph Lewis Tamone, comes a riveting planet-spanning science fiction book of adventure, teamwork, and bravery in the face of incredible odds.” – GoodReads Blurb
Fusion World sounded really cool when I first read about it. Actually something of a portal sci-fi book (as opposed to portal fantasy) with an invading army and a small band of defenders trying to stop the invasion. But once I started reading I just couldn’t get invested.
The issues I had were in four areas which I’ll go over briefly.
Fusion World is centered around an invading army and the opposing forces trying to stop them. So, there’s a lot of military stuff in the book. But almost from the get-go I was having problems with how it was presented. There’s a lot of “second-in-command” language and seemingly strange ranks for high level officers – like a Captain in command of an entire army – that I just couldn’t get past. The way the armies function and the way vehicles and equipment work seemed wrong. There was a scene where someone was teaching another character to shoot…and everything about it seemed wrong to me. Anyway I was struggling with this when the other elements hit me.
I found I was almost half-way into the book and didn’t connect with any of the characters. Some I was outright annoyed with but there were none I could say I cared about in any way.
There was also both a Mary Sue and a Gary Stu. While I’m all for equality I did feel this was a bit much. The assassin character (who I’d hoped to really like) too easily got out of every situation. Then there was another character who is a complete mystery (amnesia – doesn’t know anything about his life before just a few years ago) who seems to be able to do about anything, including fly (steal) a helicopter when he needs to at just the right moment.
Telling Not Showing
I agree that the old adage “show don’t tell” is one of those writing rules our teachers hammered home way too hard in school and that telling is at times very appropriate. But there was a whole lot of telling in this book.
This is what finally did it for me. I’d been raising my eyebrows and rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue for much of the book. It was almost like it tried to hard to be witty and sarcastic and there were too many attempts at banter. When I finally stopped it was after a scene where an assassin had just tried to kill a leader of the resisting forces, had been chased all over the city and made it back to the city’s triage area where many of the main characters were located possibly to kill one of their wives, and disappeared. In the midst of that a couple of the characters get into a debate about the assassin’s hair color and whether auburn is really red or brown. The debate wasn’t whether her hair was auburn but what shade auburn actually is. I read a little past this scene and it was more of the same so I finally put the book down.
I feel like this post seems like I’m bashing the book and I hate that. The only time I feel OK bashing an author’s work is if it is morally repugnant. Apart from that I want to shy away from being overly negative because that’s just a dick move. I did however want to relate why I DNF’d it. I also want to acknowledge that another reviewer whose judgment and reviews I like and trust really enjoyed Fusion World. So maybe it’s a case of the book just not being for me or maybe it hit me at the wrong time.
Note: I was sent a free copy of this book by the publisher.
Author: Joseph Tamone
Series: Philanthropy (#1)
Publisher: Chandra Press
Publication Date: October 15, 2018