Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review of "The Legend of Rachel Petersen" by "JT Baroni"

Story Overview:

Christian quits his job when he is passed over for promotion on the grounds of not being technical enough. Moving out of the big town he and his wife buy a house that is in need of some serious work while he starts writing a novel. His beginning efforts are ‘terrible’. But one day he stumbles across a gravestone, on it is the name Rachel Petersen. Christian decides to write her story, where she is a murdering ghost. But when the book becomes a best seller, Christian starts to imagine that Rachel is coming after him.
Cover Page:  15/20

The cover has lot of material on the front. The ghostly girl certainly adds to the atmosphere that the author is attempting to create, but the added extras of what I can only presume to be snow (derived from the snow in the storyline) adds to a cluttered cover. Although it will please some people, I don’t personally think it does the cover any good and that it detracts from what should be the main focus of the cover.

Character (and their development):  12/20

The characters are effectively portrayed, but I see little development in them throughout the book.  This could be the little amount of time that the characters have with the reader. Christian and his wife are really only in the beginning and the end, while other characters are only in the middle and neither set really interact.

My major concern is that you spend nearly a third of book investing your time into Christian and his wife, almost cheering him on to become a good writer. Then your perspective is changed to that of the Christian’s book characters and in your mind you are wondering how long you have to invest in these characters. This creates a poor relationship between the reader and the characters. But just as you get comfortable again, the character set changes, then changes back, before just for the end, you are back with Christian as he releases his bestselling novel.

Storyline:  16/20

The storyline, in which ever one you wish to concentrate on is not a bad one. It certainly has its uniqueness. In fact I would go as far as to say that with a little refinement to certain areas of the style and characterisation could turn this novel into the bestseller that the author writes about. Even the story within the story is good enough that a little extra would push it up.

I think the concern is that there is no depth to the storyline, nothing compelling the reader to keep reading once you get to the legend of Rachel. Instead the story is driven by whether Christian will or will not become a successful writer and how he fares. And I don’t think that this is what the author intended.

Style:  12/20
The actual writing of the novel is not bad. The style of the sentences and paragraphs is good. But a more descriptive tone would probably have pushed it up a little bit. It did feel at times as if I was reading an account of what was happening line by line. Instead as a reader I want the atmosphere, the actions and the thoughts of the characters to be described so I can imagine the whole world in which the characters live in. This lessens the horror part of the book which could have been on the level of several well known horror books.

Another problem for me was the story within the story, element. It would have been a great story if either of the stories was picked up and ran in throughout the book. But unfortunately the author chose both and the books effectiveness is lost.

Spelling and Grammar:  20/20

I could not see any mistakes so there is nothing more that I can say.

Conclusion:  75/100

This is a book that has a great number of ideas but tries too hard to mesh them all together into a single storyline. This probably would have done better as two short novellas or novels but together they are damage the other. Saying that it is not a bad book and I would say that casual readers of horror may enjoy the book, but not those hard core horror fans or those who like to see the characters develop.

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