Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review: Silence by Natasha Preston

ISBN: 1480118516
Published: October 19th, 2012
Publisher: self-published
Read from February, 12th to 17th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world.
Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer?
When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?


I don't even know where to begin with this review. I got this book because the Kindle version was free on Amazon (and still is at the time I'm writing this). I didn't really know much about it other than the synopsis, and I had completely forgotten the synopsis by the time I actually started reading.

Starting off I was optimistic, and it took until about a third of the way through the book before I really started to dislike it. There are a lot of typos and grammatical errors throughout the book. I read self-published novels enough that a few typos here or there isn't a big deal to me. These were everywhere though and very noticeable. It seemed to get worse as the book went on, but that was possibly just me getting more frustrated with them. They were huge mistakes though like using one entirely different word where another should be, and I say a lot of words and phrases repeated right after each other. It would have been forgivable to a certain extent, but this book went far past that.

Then there's the story itself. The premise of the story has so much potential, which is why I bought it in the first place, but it didn't live up to it. The author has potential, and I can even see this story having the potential to be great if more work was put into it. That's why I kind of hate having to write this review. The author seems to have so much potential, but either not enough work was put into editing the book or the author just hasn't reached the point where she's ready to write something for publication (or both). I have no doubt that she could write some awesome stuff in the future, but Silence, to me, read like an early attempt of a story that is excellent practice for a future but isn't good enough just yet. And I'm saying this as an aspiring writer who's dealing with the same sorts of things all the time.

The story got steadily worse as the book went on. The plot was being set up well until about the halfway point. Since I don't want to spoil the ending, it may be a bit difficult to say this, but I felt as if one thing was being set up until about halfway through when the name "Frank" is thrown into things. Now, some may regard that as a plot twist, but it was really poorly done. It's as if the beginning is telling you one thing is happening and then you find out it's not true. It would be one thing if it was done well by concealing information, but in this case it felt as if the reader had been given inaccurate information (and we're not talking unreliable narrator, we're talking information that just suddenly becomes untrue). I feel like that was a sign of what I was saying about the book just not being completely "there"yet as far as being ready to be published. That was one of the many aspects of the plot that needed to be worked with and rearranged. It read more like an early draft of a plot then a finished one.

There were a lot of other things like that throughout the novel where you could see the potential but it still needed to be reworked. The only other part I'll talk about is the ending. That was just a horrible way to end things. It was too sudden. You can't throw something like that out at the end of the novel when it makes no sense from the characters' standpoint. Again, this is difficult to describe without spoilers, but the characters showed absolutely no intention of their actions until it was dropped into the story as a cliff-hanger ending. It was horribly executed and made absolutely no sense. If it was going to be done, then it should have been hinted at before it happened. However, I don't think it should have been done at all. The only purpose it served was to create more drama to set up a sequel. I think this would have worked better as a standalone considering that sudden event was the only thing tying it to a sequel. Still, if you're going to write a sequel, ending the first book like that is ridiculous. It made no sense, and it ended way too soon after the event happened. That entire last chapter was just unnecessary.

I don't think I'm going to read the sequel. There doesn't seem like much else to the story other than a romance. The original intent of the story has more or less been addressed, which is what makes a sequel so unnecessary.

Overall, I had mostly negative views of Silence, but I definitely see the potential it has to be good. It has a very interesting plot, but it wasn't executed well the majority of the time. I just feel like the author should have worked with it more before it was published. It reads too much like an early draft that's not quite ready for publication.


  1. complaining about typos and shit and yet you didn't indent any of your paragraphs?

    1. Not indenting paragraphs is part of formatting web content. When was the last time you read a website where paragraphs were indented, whether it was a news site, a blog, Wikipedia, or some other type of online content? Not indenting is now the standard for digital content. It's even part of the AP Stylebook (which is the guide most major digital publications follow). Obviously, print content is still expected to include indentation.