Sunday, June 10, 2018

Review Sunday: The Unlovers by M. Salomon

(currently unavailable)
(I was so close to not posting my review because it's currently unavailable but I figured why not!  So enjoy)

The Heart #1
Released: 2016

Blurb:
""In a world where love is for sale, everything else lacks value.”

In London, 2040, love is known as OX2 and it has a price, a price that not everyone can pay. Sophie Quinn is lucky, recently she has moved with her family to Upper Thames, the most favored part of the city. They can consume OX2 whenever they want, which enables them to preserve their emotional ties and carry on a relatively normal life; she goes to college and her relationship with James is at its best. However, something is threatening her apparent happiness. The sale of OX2 has generated new social classes and sociopolitical interests that will put her perfect world in danger. Sophie will have to choose whether to fight against love or for it; the days go by, the hours count and her own love has a price. Will she be willing to pay that price in spite of the consequences?"



Review:
I received a copy of The Unlovers from the author, M. Salomon.  All opinions expressed are my own.

I really, really, really wanted to like this book but unfortunately, the writing and the pacing really did not do it any favors.  Full disclosure, I DNFed this on page 150 (per my rule: if I still can't stand a book by the 150 page mark, I put it down) which is about 34% of the way through.  If you've been following me a while, you'll know that I don't DNF books lightly (I've only ever done it twice before).

1.  The characters.  The characters by themselves are marvelous.  However, they are impacted greatly by how well they are written and unfortunately, as I'll explain in the third point, the writing was not the best.  The characters are all well thought out and they have such potential but that potential is not being capitalized upon.  They all have the very beginnings of development but are lacking fine tuning and even some grander, sweeping gestures of feeling.  Honestly, I wouldn't be able to tell you any names that I remember, other than the inevitable love interest, Max, who is, of course, the only one with tattoos (why is this a thing?).

2.  The plot.  This was also disappointing.  The general premise is good and intriguing (as you'll know if you've read the blurb) and is slightly reminiscent of Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  Nonetheless, it was not executed well in terms of pacing.  As I said above, I read until the 150 page mark and at that point, we were just barely getting into what I assume is the larger plotline.  Honestly, I can't say if the ending is better because I just couldn't make it past the beginning.  Normally, this isn't a problem for me because there's plenty of character development to tide me over during a slow beginning but that wasn't the case with this book (as I described above).

3.  The writing.  This is where the most problems are.  The writing is extremely clunky, littered with spelling and grammatical errors, and is the epitome of telling instead of showing.  There are several plot inconsistencies that I spotted and many convoluted sentences (for example: "We worked in order to not renounce to an atavism strengthened by the little emotional attachment that was left in us"  I'm not really sure what is being said here...).  One of the major causes I think this stems from is the lack of a solid translational strategy.  This book was originally published in Spanish and the translation into English has many obvious flaws.  While I do love reading works from other cultures and I'm severely limited because I only speak English, a good translation makes all the difference.  I recently studied translational strategies and did some research in the area and one thing that kept coming up is the translator's ability to tell the story and to interpret how the author tells it.  Translators are essentially rewriting a story and you need a translator with the ability to recognize the author's style and to adapt it as accurately as possible from the source language into the target language.  Additionally, because this is a translation, I can't tell whether the author needs to work on their writing or whether the translator needs to work on their translational abilities.  Either way, reading the story is very awkward.

The Final Verdict:
While this book has real potential in terms of ideas and character personalities, it is very much in the prepubescent stage of development.
1 star

5 comments:

  1. When good ideas go wrong. Sorry it was such a let down.

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    1. Yeah... It was really disappointing because the premise is so cool! Maybe it'd be slightly better in Spanish but I'm not proficient enough in Spanish to read it. Maybe they'll be able to fix the translation soon! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

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  2. A shame this one didn't work out for you. I have no idea what that quoted sentence means either!

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    1. Yeah... Sometimes translations just miss the mark entirely. It's kind of frustrating because I'm not sure if it's the translation's fault or the author's. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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  3. Sad to hear the book didn’t work out. We don’t realize at the time of reading how important the translator is. At the same time don’t want miss out on some great stories. Some of my favorite authors’ work is translated. I do have to agree though, didn’t understand a bit of that sentence! ♥️ Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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