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The DeerHunter: BrokenSword

August 31, 2011

The hunter Liam Michaels lies wounded, bleeding in the forests of the Canaan mountains. For him, the world is a bloody sky of red beneath which he can’t move.

The shooter Ian Lambert stands above him, persecuted by his past. For him, there’s only thoughts of how long he must now track the crippled buck.

Sarah Michaels, disillusioned with her marriage, has decided to cross the line. For her, taking off the ring means giving up the fairy tale.

Watching over all, the Lord of the Forest and keeper of the paths is witness and protector.

With brutal force, the truth of Liam’s nature is thrust on him in the form of a buck’s head, bleeding, dripping, and hollow. What he does with a second chance will redefine love and life.

With the guile of wolves, the war has come to claim him but Lambert takes what he wants and he wants the girl. But wanting her will bring only death.

As the long winter bends and folds into the spring of day, Sarah makes a discovery that questions second chances. Fearing hope has fled through the gap in the fence and into the Forest beyond, she is unaware of what follows.

The Wild Hunt is coming, savage enough to sweep mortals into the Otherworld. Liam, Lambert, and Sarah are prey for the riders of the storm, and stand in their path. As whispers of Cernunnos gather in the name of Herne the hunter, The Cervine is speaking like the sound of roots breaking soil, bringing the message that it is faith to love.

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I found relatively few technical errors in The Deerhunter: the punctuation was reliably done, the spelling was fine and the grammar was mostly okay (although BrokenSword would be wise to check his sentence structure more carefully than he seems to at the moment, as I doubt that he intended the comedic effect that he sometimes achieves).

What really let this book down was the writing: it is so horribly overwritten that it’s often difficult to know what on earth the author intended to communicate. There is a certain lyrical flow to the writing: BrokenSword uses alliteration to good effect and the rhythm and texture of his work is often pleasing: but he achieves this transitory pleasure at the expense of meaning, which is going to cost him readers.

When readers are forced to re-read every sentence in order to understand the text before them, they cannot become absorbed by the story they’re trying to read. They are simply not given a chance to enjoy the book. And that is, I’m afraid, exactly what happened here. The overwriting, the misused words, and the unnecessary complexity of this text creates a barrier between it and its reader.

I’ve often seen this dense and meaningless style referred to as literary fiction: it isn’t. It’s overwritten, self-indulgent, and boring. I read just two pages of this three hundred and eighty-six page book and cannot recommend it on any level. I suspect that it could not be sufficiently improved editing and suggest that the author read Carol Shields and Alice Munro to see how beautiful a sparser style can be.

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  1. August 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Over and over, the same thing. Your suggestion, Jane, that aspiring writers need to read good writers, would seem unnecessary; yet time and again one must wonder where that style comes from. Has the writer ever read anything good? Or anything about writing? Speaking of good writing — no, great — I’m currently listening to Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” from Audible.com. I can’t find enough superlatives. Great story, terrific writing, dialogue bang on, and terrific performance. Makes me green.

    Soldier on, Jane!

  2. September 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I’m confused by the blurb.

    Liam is hunting a deer, but Ian shoots him in the back. Then Ian decides to track the deer Liam was hunting (why?). I don’t know what role Sarah or the Lord of the Forest play in this. Liam finds out the truth about his nature (is he a weredeer or something?) and Ian wants the girl (is this Sarah?). I read the blurb twice and still don’t quite know what’s going on. It’s like trying to watch a battle through thick fog – the sounds of battle may be very exciting, but I can’t make out the participants or the action.

  3. Jane Smith
    September 29, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Marian, I felt the same reading the text. It’s sad, as the writer has clearly put a lot of effort into this book and the other he sent me for review. They’re both printed in a very small font, and are doorstop-sized.

    So many writers need to learn how to edit their own work.

  1. September 2, 2011 at 5:23 am
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