It’s posted at last over at my ABNA page. For those of you too lazy to click over there to read it, here it is:
manuscript review by Publishers Weekly, an independent organization
American teenagers meet Slovak fairy tales come to frightening life in this engaging if occasionally over-plotted fantasy novel. After his family’s home burns down, Tomas and his parents move back to their native Slovakia, where Tomas finds himself plagued by strange visions and forebodings of events to come. His parents attempt to shield him from the shadowy events of his childhood, that caused them to leave for the U.S., but Tomas- still deeply self-conscious about the burns he sustained on his arm in a childhood accident- digs into the past. With the help of his fetching cousin Katka, Tomas investigates his visions and discovers their intimate relationship with the figures of Slovak folklore, including the trickster vodnik. Can Tomas navigate his way through a new country, and a bizarre new set of friends and enemies, without causing further injury to himself, or to his cousin? The novel is heavily padded with action- at times too much action- and the characters lack definition, or much motivation, but the author keeps the plot rolling, and there is enough humanity lurking amidst the Slovak nightmares to keep readers interested.
Entering this contest was worth the PW review alone, in my opinion. Was the review glowing with praise? Not really. But it also wasn’t nearly as harsh as most of the other SF/F reviews in the contest. Considering this book had no professional editorial help–and the absolute mess of a first draft it was–I’m rather pleased that I got it into good enough shape to warrant this review, which I feel is fairly accurate at this point in the novel’s progress. What do you all think of the review? It looks like my progress in the contest ends at this point–I don’t think I’ll make the next cut, from 836 to 100–but I’m happy to have gotten this far. To me, it’s more of a “I can do this if I keep at it” sign. If it had been truly terrible, I’m sure I would be quite depressed.