First sentence: He had never expected to survive the sinking of his boat.
Favorite sentence: Food and drinks are prohibited from this section of the library.
Three pages of clichés: the river a quiet mirror, endless jungle, fallen silent, the peace was suddenly shattered, a rain of lead, engulfed in flames, sold to the highest bidder
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Oh Atria Books, can you produce anything that isn’t shit? I’m starting to feel bad for suggesting that Atria is just a front for a meth lab, because that horribly disparages meth labs and the hardworking men and women who strive to create a pure product that brings joy to so many. Atria Books is more like a terrorist organization, which wants you to die, and is willing to sacrifice themselves to make you die.
This book begins with a prologue, which in a work of fiction is like a middle finger to the reader. Is the prologue important to the story? It wasn’t good enough to be a real chapter, so surely I can skip it… Will it contain a useless sideshow prequel that sets the mood of the main plotline? Or is it just some crap that didn’t fit anywhere so you tossed it there?
I elected to skip the prologue and start at chapter one because nothing comes before one except zero. And zero is the part where I am sleeping, which is a better use of my time than this book was.
At first it wasn’t clear if this was a shitty book or not, but then I saw this sentence, like a dead shitty giveaway:
The river was alive with death.
Oxymorons like this are tricks hacks use to make you think they are clever, but this is the most cliché-infested writing I’ve ever seen. Reading along further, Bell inserts an inexplicable vernacular apostrophe that completely stalls your thought process:
When he heard the explosion for’ard, and felt the yawl stagger and founder…
I must have glanced back at that for’ard twenty times because I couldn’t believe it was really there.
I will give Ted Bell credit, though, for packing in a lot of action in three pages. Here’s what happened in that span:
- a boat travelling on a river hits a mine and gets strafed by machine gun fire
- the survivor enters the water only to be attacked by a “water boa”
- he is then captured by indians and sold into slavery
- he fights off his captors and escapes
- he fakes his own death, then jumps back into the river