Wednesday, March 02, 2016

We Are the Ants

by Shaun David Hutchinson

Twice I've pondered reading this guy's other book, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, but the jacket blurb doesn't quite click with me somehow. I had a similar "iffy" feeling about this book too, and I'm still not sure why I decided to go for it this time.

Anyway, this book is a mixed bag of nuts. I could see teens really liking it, though. I didn't find the alien abduction element very convincing, especially since it was kind of just dropped at the very end. (Was it real or his imagination? Or mental illness? When he had a breakdown and went for help, why was he only in the hospital for three days?) Some of the things characters did or said didn't seem realistic to me. In addition to the aliens and "would you save the world if you could" motif, the author repeated a couple other unrelated metaphors that should have been one-offs. I was also bothered by some basic factual errors (for example, Andromeda is not a star, it's a galaxy), but others might not notice or be troubled because they're incidental and not integral to the plot.

Could have been much, much better with some editing, but I guess publishers don't do much of that anymore. I'm grading it "needs improvement," but in the current climate of lower standards it probably would get a "satisfactory" or better from a lot of people.

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