Review

Book Review: Touch

touch
touch2

Blurb

Love is an immortal bad girl. With a strike of her arrow and a smirk on her face, she pins human hearts together against their will. It’s for their own good, of course—silly, clueless creatures that they are.

But Love has never loved. Not until the Fates parcel her off to a small, frostbitten town littered with needy souls. Not until she crosses paths with Andrew, a boy whose gaze locks onto hers. Yet how can this be? Mortals don’t have the power to see deities.

The longer they’re friends, the more Love wishes she could touch Andrew. In gentle ways. In other tempting and reckless ways as well.

It’s impossible. She isn’t a true part of his world. She’s an outsider whose fingers will only ever sweep through him. A mischievous, invisible goddess who’s destined to be alone. And he’s destined for someone else. By order of the Fates, it’s Love’s duty to betray his trust. To seal his heart while ignoring the gash in her own.

Or she could become human. For there is one very tricky, very dangerous way to do so.

If only Andrew felt the same about her, it might be worth the risk.

goodreads

At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 4.12 out of 5

Opening Lines

Love’s arrow strikes the boy first. It punctures his heart, turning it into a flashbulb within the shadowed halls of his body. The impact causes him to grunt and stumble backward into his dresser. Triumphant, the light disappears with a wink.

Review

I want to be gentle in my review of ‘Touch’ because I am aware that this is an ‘indie’ self-published book by someone who hasn’t gone down the traditional publishing route and so I feel a bit churlish being harsh as someone has put their own money into getting this circulated. I also have experienced this author in the Tumblr world and in the circle of a particular fandom and she seems lovely. So I also feel a bit mean being harsh because there is a tangible human being at the end who isn’t protected by publishers and editors.

NB: I know professional authors are also human beings but they get paid to deliver a product, it just feels different somehow if someone self publishes… I can’t explain it.

But…I want to be honest because a book is a book and everything should be considered on the merit of the content and not the way it has been published.

‘Touch’ is probably what I would call a modern urban fantasy. Love exists, not only as a concept but as an entity who hangs out in a town called Ever and strikes love into the hearts of mortals. She watches people with a curious eye and has a yearning to well…touch, but this kicks up a notch when she meets Andrew.

The story than follows a rather typical love story approach. Girl meets boy, obstacles are in their way, will they get together? This approach is a common one (and a popular one) and I always find the success depends on the execution.

Unfortunately, despite ‘Touch’s’ interesting premise it was a tad boring. The beginning of the story took a long while to kick in and it was only about a quarter of the way through that action began to take place and personally I think a quarter of the way through is too long to wait for any plot to start.

This slow pace was due to the first quarter being excessively heavy with set-up. It’s a lot of world-building (but Ever, the mortal town is a mundane, ordinary town and the world the gods inhabit is never really expanded on), character building and exposition in one fell swoop.

There is also a lot of ‘tell’ and not much show during this part. We get pages and pages of Love’s thoughts but not much action or dialogue and it serves solely to tell us exactly who Love is, where she is from and what she wants. As previously mentioned, what she wants is to touch. I found that for all the talk we get on Love’s yearning for human touch I don’t really ‘feel’ it –it never comes through in the writing. This is the writer’s debut book and so I wonder if certain elements would be handled more skillfully with practice.

The settings are not particularly interesting as I don’t feel they are well developed, I know Ever is a small town but that’s all I know. I know Love is from some other place but that’s all I know. The place where the gods are from seem to have their own rules and way of life but we never really feel immersed in these places.

Love as a main character starts interesting but unfortunately Andrew is an incredibly bland character who can see Love because he is ‘pure.’ Sadly, writing a ‘pure’ character is incredibly difficult to do and Andrew came across as a pushover and bland. Also, the impact that his character had on Love was to make her more boring as her focus becomes more and more on him and I feel that she loses a little of her personality as the love story unfolds. The secondary characters are excessive in number (some could have definitely been trimmed) and are either not well developed or serve no purpose. Bar one. I’ll mention him in a moment.

The plot is straight forward without particular nuance. Like I said, girl meets boy and they fall in love. Insta-love. The whole plot is practically this and any subplots aren’t given the time they deserve which is a shame as one of the subplots is actually more interesting than the main plot and I feel could have been explored to greater depth.

Spoiler

Love is meant to strike arrows in the heart of Andrew and Holly but she doesn’t want to because she loves Andrew. She is being ‘spied’ and reported on to the ‘higher gods’ (who are they by the way?!) by one of the other gods Anger. Ironically, it is quite obvious to everyone aside from the god of Love herself that Anger is in love with Love.

This is the subplot that I think is more interesting than the main plot, also because Anger as a character is one of the most interesting and is definitely more interesting than the ‘pure’ and pushover Andrew.

Personally, I think this book missed a trick. It is very clear that the writer is forcing the Love/ Andrew connection as that is where she wants it to go but organically it makes far more sense in this telling to explore the Love/ Anger connection. It is a shame that this wasn’t given more time and development.

What I will say is this – this book and the writer has potential. I think this is a good starter book but it is not a great book. But it is a good start. With more skill and practice I think the writer will be able to sharpen her characterisation, setting and plotting.

The writing is overall of a good quality but can vary. There are some sections that contain good prose, there are some sections that contain purple prose and there are some sections that contain great prose that really conveyed emotion and sat with me. The consistency isn’t there yet but that potential I keep harping on about – it definitely is.

My Rating

2 Star

 

 

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Touch

    1. I worry that it wasn’t particularly gentle as I am a bit of a ranter about books! I tried to be mindful though that this was a self published one. It did make it hard at times though and I wonder if there is an etiquette about reviewing self published vs. traditionally published books!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree that self-published authors don’t have as much of a support or defense system established around them, so I appreciate your “gentle” approach here. The premise does sound terrific, but I can see that the unique elements didn’t really live up here. Nice review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I genuinely did feel a bit guilty writing this and at times I wondered if it wasn’t gentle enough. The writer has written two more which I have rated 3 and 2 and I think I get less gentle with the second ‘2.’

      The premise of this is just gorgeous but the execution just didn’t hang together tight enough. I think (and this is going to sound awful) that it was because the writer had a large fanfiction following in the fandom she was in and everyone was so delightful and praising (which is what you want in fandom!) but she turned what was a piece of fanfiction to an original and I don’t think was as rigorous with the self critique.

      A lot of her beta readers and critique partners were thanked in the acknowledgements and they were fellow fans so I wonder if someone more removed should be the one who helps edit? I don’t know if I’m making sense here. Just from a perspective of putting original content out there you can’t always rely on friends for honest feedback or fans to be critical where needed.

      Her second book was lovely and I got really excited but her third has slipped but I still need to write the review on that.

      I think the potential is there though, I just think she needs to invest in stronger editors. I sound so mean but I truly mean it constructively.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s totally fair I think. If an author is to grow and truly reach their full potential, people sometimes need to be a bit mean and they need to listen. And I agree! If your beta readers are largely fans, they’re only going to marvel at what you’ve accomplished rather than approach your work critically. You’re definitely not being mean! Constructive, rather. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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