Monday, October 1, 2012

Critique of The Last Wish Excerpt

I've joined Goodreads recently, and it recommended the book The Last Wish to me. So for today's Tuesday Critique, I have an excerpt from it, which can be found here.

The mare flattened her ears against her skull and snorted, throwing up earth with her hooves; she didn't want to go. Geralt didn't calm her with the Sign; he jumped from the saddle and threw the reins over the horse’s head. He no longer had his old sword in its lizard-skin sheath on his back; its place was filled with a shining, beautiful weapon with a cruciform and slender, well-weighted hilt, ending in a spherical pommel made of white metal. Saying "skull" makes me think of a death knight's horse, which is actually a skeleton  I would say head instead. Or just "flattened her ears." While I'm not one of the people out there who say semicolons have no place in fiction  I would not recommend using them three times in the first paragraph. And while description is important, it's better to use fewer, more powerful words instead of a vomit of words (for the sword).

This time the gate didn't open for him. It was already open, just as he had left it.

He heard singing. He didn't understand the words; he couldn't even identify the language. He didn't need to – the witcher felt and understood the very nature, the essence, of this quiet, piercing singing which flowed through the veins in a wave of nauseous, overpowering menace. I love this paragraph.

The singing broke off abruptly, and then he saw her.

She was clinging to the back of the dolphin in the dried-up fountain, embracing the moss-overgrown stone with her tiny hands, so pale they seemed transparent. Beneath her storm of tangled black hair shone huge, wide-open eyes the color of anthracite. Tangled needs a comma. I'm not sure how many people are going to get the reference to anthracite. When I use gem or rock names, I try to use well-known ones. What about black opal? It's a similar color, with the sparkle in it, even.

Geralt slowly drew closer, his step soft and springy, tracing a semi-circle from the wall and blue rosebush. The creature glued to the dolphin’s back followed him with her eyes, turning her petite face with an expression of longing, and full of charm. He could still hear her song, even though her tiny, pale lips were held tight and not the smallest sound emerged from them. I question your word choice for "emerged." Otherwise solid.

The witcher halted at a distance of ten paces. His sword, slowly drawn from its black enameled sheath, glistened and glowed above his head.

“It’s silver,” he said. “This blade is silver.”

The pale little face did not flinch; the anthracite eyes did not change expression. Pale needs a comma. There are too many semicolons on this page. What's wrong with periods?

“You’re so like a rusalka, “the witcher continued calmly, “that you could deceive anyone. All the more as you’re a rare bird, black-haired one. But horses are never mistaken. They recognize creatures like you instinctively and perfectly. What are you? I think you’re a moola, or an alpor. An ordinary vampire couldn’t come out in the sun.” You've got a space in the wrong place after rusalka.

The corners of the pale lips quivered and turned up a little. Nice and creepy.

Overall thoughts: It seems like you have a well-formed world here, but I'd like more character and hook. The semicolon thing is distracting. I think overall I would keep reading, since nothing truly turned me off, and the world seems interesting.

Would you read this book?

1 comment:

  1. i like your crit, honest & constructive! good luck with your gutgaa pitch!