Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review::Vortex Travelers:Sovereigns and Unwed Sailors by J.L. Holtz

Vortex Travelers: Sovereigns and Unwed SailorsVortex Travelers: Sovereigns and Unwed Sailors by J.L. Holtz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vortex Travelers: Sovereigns and Unwed Sailors by J.L. Holtz

This is definitely one of those novels that will fall in the love/hate category. I can see a quick division delineating those who forge on to finish the novel and those who fall quickly away from it. The stars could easily be well balance on this one and to that end I chose to place my two cents in the center as the fulcrum to the see-saw of reviews to follow. There are many things I love about this: one being the whole concept behind the plot; another is the sassy main character; and then there is the very fact I had to work to come to love it, which included having to finish it. There are some drawbacks and those tend to be the niggling bits that stand in the way toward possibly having someone throw the whole book down.(Which in this case is self defeating because it damages the kindle.)

The author is up front,
In her early explanations,
That her novel is written with a certain artistic flare: which makes it like a graphic novel; or a movie; or a piece of music. And it might well be that it often looks poetic, though there are certain elements rather lacking in the whole. Though if you look at what I did with this paragraph, you might have a small window into what to expect from what's inside this novel.

Add to that the interesting fact there are somewhere beyond six hundred colons used within and they outnumber the semi-colons but are dwarfed by the hyphens and dashes that are spread throughout. So with that in mind I think that it becomes clear, at least to me, why there might be some people putting this down after a sampling of pages proves that this condition is going to exist throughout. I wouldn't be surprised if some might suggest that this work needed a colon dash hyphen-ectomy.

But if you can get past that and the numerous grammatical problems, some of which one could wonder if they were errors or deliberate, then once settling down to where you know what to expect you have a better chance for enjoying the whole. The next hurdle for me was to sort out what was happening because of the next style choice, which seemed to me to be stream of consciousness writing. And this is not just from one character but primarily from two characters.

The story is part stream and part standard first person narration and the stream of consciousness is mostly present tense though there were some itchy moments in that that felt otherwise; and at first I had thought that the whole was going to be stream with present tense and standard first person narration in past tense; yet the whole thing started crossing boundaries (sometimes with good reason; other times not so much). Still as a whole this assessment might only be from out of my own perception; and I'd suggest when you read it you make your own judgment while possibly being ready for it; and then try to tough it out because the whole piece makes for an interesting literary attempt that poses as Science Fiction.

I do think that, with the right amount of editing, this could become good literary fiction. The problem with that might be that it would drive some editors mad until they began to find the pattern in the prose. For me though, this caused my reading comprehension to become very difficult and I was forced to slow my pace which always made the perceived errors stick out a bit more. But I forged on through and found that once I ignored the majority of the punctuation and the few other oddities I was able to focus on the story itself and though the science mixed with myth within the streams of conscious flowing off the page was often daunting: it often add; more than detracted from the story.

And though the story seems to be one of a teen named Lulu Wu and her struggle to focus while strange things start occurring around her and then moves into a potential for a love story with time travel and dimensional shifting. The real plot seems to be one more of the Universe trying to figure itself out. A universe formed from a big bang, which occurred when a godlike being was killed. And now the present universe faces destruction by a similar means which won't wait for this universe to find itself.

My stars on this one are meaningless-because I really loved most of the novel. But I think that the reader should be warned that it's not the usual novel and anyone wanting to read it should read the sample before purchasing it. I did that and still picked it up and there were moments I felt like putting the whole thing down. In the final analysis I'm glad I didn't.

And though some of the errors I found might be a part of the artsy-ness of the whole, I think there are a justified number of problems evident that this could use at least one good edit to pull it up and into the class of literary fiction where it belongs. There’s a lot of promise here in the future of this author.

I recommend this to all SFF fans (with caveats) and anyone who likes to delve in the literary end of the genre. A challenging read.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

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