Author: George Bachman
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy
Rating: 1 Star (DNF)
In a turn-of-the-century England steeped in steampunk and magic, Christine suffers in ways no sixteen year-old should and that no doctor has been able to cure. That’s because the excruciating pains and high fevers slowly destroying her body aren’t triggered by a physical cause but by visions of a youth calling to her while fleeing a mysterious man who means to take his life. This could hardly be happening at a worse time, when she and her beautiful older sister Allison are making their début in high society, like other wealthy socialites seeking matches with impoverished aristocrats.
Christine becomes convinced that to stop the visions she must somehow save this youth. But first she has to find him, and since she’s seen him only in visions, she needs someone who’d know how to locate him using the paranormal. Unfortunately, the authorities have driven underground all but one of England’s occultists, Lady Kinloss, and the reason she isn’t hiding is the only reason she would help Christine, something she wants in return. Christine must convince Allison to marry Kinloss’s lover, one of those poor aristocrats, so that the illicit pair can share her part of the family fortune.
If Christine doesn’t stop the visions by saving the youth, her illness will eventually take her life. But to do what Lady Kinloss wants is to betray Allison to a lifetime of misery. Can Christine lead her sister into a bad marriage if doing so is the only way to save her own skin – literally?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get very far into Spellcaster by George Bachman. I think the major issue I had with this book, was that it was desperately in need of a thorough editor.
There were some really odd word choices and awkward sentence structures (re: “longish neck” and “Those of us who did this were me always…” or “…boats run by male and female athletes…”). Sometimes paragraphs took up entire pages on their own. To compound this, the narrative was thick and wordy, and… Well, just felt like it was trying too hard.
By the end of the first chapter, I didn’t feel like I’d really learned anything about the main character, and I’d learned way too much about every single other character at the same time. There was no differentiation in what information was provided to the reader based on what was actually important to the story.
Eventually, I got bored. I really think this book suffers from a lack of a good editor. It needs to be trimmed down to what is actually necessary to the story and cleaned up so that the narrative flows well and is easy to read. Right now, the narrative is just too tangled to enjoy. On a personal level, as someone who works as a copy editor, it’s just not enjoyable to try and slog through.