Home > fiction > Iman’s Isle: S A Davis

Iman’s Isle: S A Davis

September 10, 2009

Some treasures cannot be stolen, only lost. And if lost, may be impossible to recover.

Journey to an island paradise, the heavenly city of Casilda, and the hideous pit called Marheon and observe the creatures that dwell there and in between. Explore the struggle of good against evil, with humanity caught in the middle, and know that some unseen forces desire the destruction of humans, while others strive for their salvation.

S A Davis, the author of Iman’s Isle – A Tale of Lost Treasures seems to be yet another self-published author who is determined to present his or her book as badly as possible. I can’t be sure of Davis’s gender, as he or she has omitted to include any information about the author in the book.

The back cover copy (reproduced in full above) is full of clichés and nonsensical statements. It gives me just one clue about the genre this book fits into: those odd place-names imply that this book’s genre is probably fantasy or SF. But the back cover copy doesn’t give me any idea of what this story is about, or why it should interest me: and so it fails in the task it has, which is to inform and intrigue the book’s potential readers.

The jacket illustration is another big problem (and before you protest that this blog is meant to review books, not criticise illustrations, despite the numerous issues I have with the illustration I’ve only counted it as one strike of the fifteen I allow each book). What is that big white thing? Some sort of fruit? Perhaps it’s half a radish; but it appears to be bleeding where that creature’s claws are digging into it; and what’s with the six hands, each with six fingers? Do they all belong to one animal? Or to three two-handed creatures? Or perhaps to two animals with three hands each? And while six fingers might come in handy for back-scratching if I were this creature I would willingly trade in half of them for a single opposable thumb. To make the worst of a bad illustration, part of the creature’s furry green tail has been cropped off over on the left-hand side. This surely wasn’t done intentionally, but it makes the whole front cover look even more slapdash.

Inside the book things are little better. I found several inconsistencies in punctuation, some run-on sentences, and a few very confusing lapses in logic. The text was dull and rather confusing. The three men who appear in the opening scene all share exactly the same speech patterns: they all report their dreams in the present tense, but fall back to oddly-formal and rather archaic phrasing in past-tense for everything else; and this lack of characterisation makes it just about impossible to distinguish between them.

There was a paragraph on the very first page which was unintentionally stiff with double entendres, a large and unattributed quote facing the table of contents, and some nonsense about “revised versions” on the copyright page (either the book is a new edition or it’s not): not surprising, then, that I read only two pages of this and will now never know what that creature on the cover was really meant to be. Somehow, that doesn’t feel like a loss.

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  1. September 20, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Speaking as a bookseller, that cover is one of the most fugly I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of self-published books. And not a single one I wanted to stock I'm afraid.

  2. September 21, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Vanessa, it seems to me that many of the writers who have sent me their self-published books to review here haven't given any real thought to how much shelf-appeal their book jackets have: and it really is so important. Bad jacket design does provide an indicator of the book's overall quality, and of the publisher's awareness of marketing and publishing as a whole, which is why I mention it here.If you, as an independent (and excellent) bookseller don't like the cover then I'm willing to put money on most other booksellers disliking it too. Which is another strike against this book as its author tries to get sales. It's really very sad.

  3. October 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks for the honest feedback. I have since sought the talent of a professional graphics designer and fit the book with a new cover.Sincerely, S. A. Davis

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