SPSFC2 Review of 'Escape from Earth 1' by David DuBois
For SPSFC2, this is a personal review and does not reflect other reviewers on Team Escapist.
A buddy adventure story on an alternate Earth. Portals and politics. And the cover gives me ‘cult’ vibes.
The story had an interesting premise- an ‘alternate Earth’ needed help, so the people of this alternate Earth come to our Earth to find that help. Now, that’s a basic summerization, but overall that’s the plot. Some political intrigue and deception occurs, which help make the story interesting, but the problem with being able to fully enjoy the story was in the writing itself. Unfortunately, it was all ‘telling’ and not 'showing'. It almost read like a manual with a few funny lines. The massive info-dumps also hindered the pacing of the story.
I also didn’t understand the character’s motivations. They just seemed to be there, doing stuff, but I never got the full depth of their wants and needs, other than the surface needs and wants of getting home. What propelled the characters to do what they did? I knew, through 'telling', what the characters were, but I never felt like I knew who the characters were. So everything felt very generalized- like an outline instead of a story. It was someone telling me what happened instead of letting me experience what happened. This lack of connection made a lot of the story a struggle to read through.
It started with a cliche beginning with the big hook being a missing coffee cup. That could be interesting, except it is written in a very ‘tell’ fashion and didn’t build any tension. There were also several misued commas within the first two hundred words, which was distracting, and made me apprehensive as I continued. And, unfortunately, the entire first chapter was an info-dump. Which is sad, beause it sounds like there’s some good humour behind the author’s words, but it is lost to the ‘telling’ not 'showing'.
Chapters provided nothing but info-dumps, with most ending with ‘click bait’. And mild ‘click bait’ at that. Chapter breaks also only seem to be used to break up POV, time, or the size of info-dumps.
By chapter 4, I was also noticing discrepincies with POV. Started out as third person limited, but then changed to omnipotent at certain areas. Pacing was also an issue with more than half of the book dragged down by thoughts, talking and walking. When the action did kick in, it was too late and too drawn out. I kept wanting to skip ahead. A lot of the conflict and complications became abundant in the fourth act, and should have been spread out throughout the story to improve pacing.
Possibly a good story, unfortunately lost to poor writing and storytelling technique. Too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing'. Book states reading age at 14-18. YA nor not, story technique needs to be there.
As an aside, I did not appreciate being apolagized to by the author for the spelling and grammar mistakes. A few are bound to happen, but if the author feels the need to out right apolagize for the editing, or lack of editing, then that should be at the beginning of the book, not the end. Let the reader decide if they are willing to put up with that before they purchase the book.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, this is a no to move on the competition.