Antares and the Zodiac by J and L Wells

(Cover picture courtesy of this site that will not load.)

Four friends, Daz, Eve, Oli and Ebony, meet at a fairground, but what appears to be an ordinary bonfire night couldn’t be further from the truth.

One fairground ride throws them into a very different dimension, where they set off on an incredible adventure that is completely out of this world.

Follow them as they embark on an amazing journey through the star signs of the zodiac.

(Summary courtesy of J & L Wells’ website.)

[Full disclsoure: J & L Wells sent me a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.]

Antares and the Zodiac had such a great premise, but it lacked two things: maturity and a good editor.  I’ll deal with the former first.

Much like with The Outsiders, you can tell the authors are really, really young.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being young and there are a few brilliant young authors, but J&L Wells’ youth really shows in their writing.  They lack the experience that comes with age to pull off emotional scenes and they lack the writing experience to pull off what could be very compelling descriptions of the novel’s setting.  I’m not saying that there aren’t good parts to the novel (because there are), it’s just that they are overshadowed by the teenage writing style, especially when phrases like this crop up in scenes that are supposed to be suspenseful:

“However, he was forced to eat his words for a second time as things were about to go from bad to worse … MUCH WORSE!” (Pg 132)

Now the latter: this book needed a good editor.  How can I say that with absolute certainty?  Well, as I read I made notes to myself and here are the numbers that I came up with:

  1. Capital letters were USED LIKE THIS to emphasize points 92 times.
  2. Multiple punctuation (as in !!! or !!) was used 16 times.
  3. ‘duck’, ‘ducky’ or ‘duckies’ was used 225 times.

Note that this all occurs in 255 pages.  The use of various forms of ‘duck’ occurs mainly when one character, Daz, is speaking.  Character quirks like favourite phrases are important parts of characterization, but when they are used too frequently it just becomes silly.  Capital letters should rarely, if ever, be used in novels for emphasizing words—that’s what italics are for.  Multiple exclamation points look rather silly, especially if the author(s) are fond of using single exclamation points for normal dialogue.  Basically, they lose their punch and aren’t nearly as effective as when an author uses exclamation points only a few times throughout the novel.

Daz and Eve are decent enough characters, but Daz kept getting on my nerves.  The constant use of ‘duck’ (in all situations, to all people) is grating and coupled with the fact that he constantly goes off seeking trouble in the Zodiac signs…well it didn’t help my overall impression of the novel.

J and L Wells are young writers with so much promise and I hope that with practice and time they reach their full potential.

I give this book 2.5/5 stars.

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