Book Review – Apocalypse of John by KGW Rahman
Well, this is a different one.
I received a request to review this book, and agreed to do so as usual. I duly read the book, and went to get the links as part of my usual reviewing process. To my surprise, I found that the book in question is no longer listed for sale.
Hmm…. What to do? I strongly suspect that the book has been taken down for the various issues which I would normally state in my review. So, I can either provide a review of a book no longer for sale (which would then be a different book when the work is done on it, so the review would no longer be an accurate reflection of the book on sale), or I can post no review at all and chalk it up to experience.
Or, I can use the opportunity to make a few general suggestions. Or all of the above.
I had a few issues with Apocalypse of John, but the story wasn’t one of them. The basic premise was a simple but good one:
God has gone AWOL, and Lucifer has simply moved into Heaven. For reasons of his own, he decides to bring about the end of days, and employs the Four Horsemen to set it all off. Death himself gets to dwell in the mind of the titular John, an everyday nobody, until Lucifer sends a nondescript demon to lead John towards the fruition of his masterplan. Angels, demons, humans and the Horsemen all mingle, with alliances formed and betrayed, plots plotted and chaos and death surrounding them. Throw in a mix of oddball background characters, and you should have a winner.
So, this is where some little bits of advice are going to be thrown out in general:
1. Know your words, especially your homophones. The occasional lapse with getting a word wrong can be forgiven (here/hear, for example). When it happens with every single word that can have a similar sounding/differently spelt word, and every single time you pick the wrong word, you have a problem. Dictation software is not always your friend.
2. Use a proofreader. Your first draft is never good enough. You need to review, edit, review, edit, ask someone else to review, edit again, and repeat until done. A fresh pair of eyes works wonders, clears up the mistakes, and helps to trim the fat.
3. A little exposition here and there is fine. One huge dump after another is not.
4. Show more than tell. A poor author has to tell the reader about everything – every emotion, every reason, every action – because they lack the ability to put it subtly and still have the reader pick up on it.
5. Say your dialogue out loud. Or get someone else to. If it’s painful to say or painful to hear, it’s going to be painful to write, so change it.
6. Plot inconsistencies will kill the reader’s ability to lose themself in the plot.
7. Punctuation should not be thrown randomly onto the page. Ditto for capital letters.
8. “Said” is not the only way to describe how a character vocalises something.
9. If you are going to refer to established mythology/religion – get the names right, unless you’re consciously doing it across the board.
10. Telling the reader the same thing over and again, in the same manner, is like beating them around the head with an bat. It makes for painful reading.
11. Try and keep the tone vaguely consistent. Little bumps up and down are fine, but moments of brutal, graphic violence can sit at odds in a story which has been fairly whimsical until then.
I may be wrong, but these are things that will kill a book for me, regardless of how much I like the actual story behind the words. I hope to read the Apocalypse of John again, some day. And I hope that it’s in a much more polished state than it was when I received it.