Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chapter Eleven - A Book You Hate

Immortal War by Justin Somper


Hate is a strong word. I feel as if the only books I’ve ever really ‘hated’ are Orbital Kin and half of my university reading list. No matter how many times people tell me that Ulysses, Clarissa and The Satanic Verses are fantastic works of literature I’m still going to hate them for their absurd boringness and confusing ‘groundbreaking’ writing. Really, I hate the fact that they highlight my complete lack of intelligence to comprehend and appreciate them completely.

 So for this chapter, I will go for something entirely comprehensible: middle grade fiction!

(Originally posted on

I can remember being absolutely enthralled by these books in the beginning. The set up seemed quite delicious.

I am trying to read 'as a writer' and this series and especially the book itself has definitely taught me how not to write.

I have to agree with some of the other reviews on here - the characters were quite flat and also not much of role models.

Immortal War was full of deus ex machinas...and stupid clichés and phrases. The Four Cardinals suddenly announcing a ‘thank goodness now we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves’ prophecy? Connor can conveniently split into two and thus avoid his death?

But the thing that was most glaring to me was the fact that the book didn't have a secure setting. Or context. It's meant to be about the year 2500 yet we aren't given any obvious clues to how the world developed - except that there was a huge flood that must have written out technology and all ideas of nautical knowledge. Mosh Zu spoke about his prophecy 500 years before the books are set, meaning that it was our present time in which it happened - yet there is nothing recognisable from this. Somper: read Mortal Engines. Reeve quite convincingly builds a world we know is absolutely ravaged by warfare and makes it obvious yet subtle of its context and awareness.

Also: do your research. It's all very well to have hundreds of ships sailing the oceans but apart from the fact they have sails they are very hard to imagine. Are they ships similar to those in the time of Nelson? Get some nautical terminology in there, some decent research. It seems crazy that these pirates are concerned with sword play when things like cannon and guns decided the Battle of Trafalgar. Refer to CS Forester or Naomi Novik, who successfully builds a fantasy world on top of one we recognise.

In all fairness, this book is aimed for middle school readers and so I suppose it satisfies their needs. But it could be much more exciting. I can think of dozens of books written for this age that are infinitely better. Mortal Engines is one.

I did used to like this series. But then it stretched on and on and began to feel strained.

Maybe it would have been more exciting if it was written for young adults.

Also, the Captain was a fantastic character, but as soon as he was revealed as Darke, I was disappointed. Boo!

And where's the sea shanty?

Immortal War feels considerably different from the others.

No comments:

Post a Comment