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e-Scribes: Final Book Reviews

The Commons, Book 1: The Journeyman -- Michael Alan Peck -- Submitted for consideration on August 1st, 2016

The author resides in: USA

REVIEWED ON AUGUST 18TH, 2016

Our editor said:

I was immediately drawn to this book by the combination of a great cover, the enthralling blurb, and then—more than anything—that very first sentence. Which sentence? Well, we’ve provided the link, so you read it for yourself. You can’t expect us to do all the work.

This is a genre new to our reviewing editor, admittedly, so she was unsure what to expect. It was described as a magical realism novel with elements of mythical and metaphysical fantasy.

Eh, what? Really? What does such a book look like?

Well, if it looks like this, we’re all for it.

It proved fairly un-put-downable for our two readers, in fact, managing to mix (seemingly effortlessly) some wonderful scene-setting with understated but—to us—extremely funny moments. Peck has a real flair for avoiding hyperbole and hitting humour right on the button, without being at all obvious about it.

We had to read some things twice as a result; the author's perfectly-achieved, often deadpan writing style had us questioning whether we read it right! Most probably, this comes from Peck’s journalistic and non-fiction writing background; he certainly knows the perfect pitch for any line.

To add to this, we found engaging, credible action sequences, thoughtful, deeper scenes and—scary bits. It’s also a weighty book, not 'fluffy' (technical term!) and carries its perfection of style, engagement, and flow right through to that final page. Hard to do, surely, yet Peck makes it all look simple.

Scene-setting in an afterlife scenario, too, should be at least a little surreal and more than a touch challenging or awkward for a new writer, but it comes across as—that’s how it was. You buy into it because there are no weak points, no get-outs in the storyline or the delivery. Some rather unlikely character groupings that wouldn't succeed in the writings of a lesser author, come together with finesse, too.

We highly recommend this book for its powers of engagement, smooth style and pacing, and myriad surprises, start to end. Peck is one to watch, for sure.

Adverse comments? Well, this is embarrassing, but we have none, really. If we had to say something, then--in places, but not often--perhaps the dialogue could have been sharper or more persuasive. By and large, though, it’s a book free of holes, even for editors acclimatised to looking for some.

Our scores:

Visual appeal: 5/5

Storyline (Content): 4.5/5

Dialogue: 4/5

Editing and proofreading: 4.5/5

 

Final Score : 18/20


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