That Truthful Place: 4.5 out of 10
The biggest problem casting a dark shadow over the story is the overall 'unbelievability.' By the end of the book, it is hard to see the characters as real, believable people. Everything is always perfect and they are always brilliant and happy and brilliant. Even when things are going wrong, they seem to laugh and find it humorous. To be fair to the children, the 'bad guy' in this story is absurd. The villain's entry into the story is quite decent, but then he devolves into an illogical, psycho who is described as 'devilish' without actually appearing to be so. Then there is the issue of the villain somehow gaining knowledge and suspicions which are impossible for him to have gained based on what information he is given. And to end it, the children 'defeat' the the bad guy in a way that would hardly have destroyed his motive, but rather spurred him to greater obsession and insanity.
All that being said, That Truthful Place has potential. The basic premise for the novel, that somebody chose a group of smart children and gave them power in order to form a new, better society is believable, intriguing, interesting, and quite compelling. Through all the problems mentioned above, there are moments when the book really SHINES, giving us glimpses of the author's potential. The mystery of a grand plot is what sustains you through the pages. The children's powers are at times used in intriguing ways, to solve problems you wouldn't have considered. And the end of the book, <<SPOILERS>> when the children must flee there homes in the face of a newspaper article exposing them is packed with tension and fear missing from previous chapters (even if the article was ridiculous).
Would I read the next book? Well, that depends entirely upon the author. If Lesser writes a sequel to equal That Truthful Place, I would probably not read it. However, the overall plot was compelling enough that I desire to follow its progress. If the author wishes to capture the attention of readers and keep them throughout the series, there is much to learn. In the hopes that my own experiences will help turn the sequel into something spectacular, here are several lessons I have learned over the past years and novels:
- Trust your readers: They are smart and able to draw conclusions, picture environments, and remember information given on previous pages.
- Show, don't tell: Don't tell about how your children are brilliant, repeatedly. Say it once and then show us through their actions. The same goes for emotions. Rather than saying "she was happy," say "her heart fluttered."
- Declutter: Trim down often useless words like that, just, very, etc. Cut out repeated notions. Don't give the reader the same bit of information twice on the same page. And avoid using the same word too close to itself.
- Immerse your readers: Rather than an overarching narrative that touches on each character briefly, find a way to immerse the reader in the story and characters. Try bringing the reader closer by showing each scene from the viewpoint of a specific character.