So, yesterday’s review of MaryLynn Bast’s novel No Remorse attracted more than a little attention on Amazon.com (read my review and the half-dozen comments that have appeared here). I’m not necessarily sure if it’s more attention than I was expecting, but I can say I was surprised by the voracity with which I was attacked for my opinion.
For the record, the book’s publicist specifically requested I post the review on my blog, Amazon, and Goodreads, and I did as I was told.
I want to start this post with an excerpt from the book, just to give you a little taste of what we’re working with:
Instead of killing him, Blake jerked the man to his feet by the front of his shirt demanding an answer. “Who sent you?”
When the man remained silent, Blake shook him, rattling the teeth in his head and repeated between clenched teeth. “Who sent you?”
Opening his eyes, he stared frighteningly at the giant of a man who towered over him. Blake could easily break him in two with his bare hands by the looks of him.
“I, if I, if I,” he stuttered, then stopped and straightened his shoulders, dropping his hands to his side. “If I tell you anything, they will kill my family,” he said in a resolved, but stronger voice.
Amber had followed and was standing behind Blake, touching his shoulder. “Blake, he’s telling the truth.” How she knew she didn’t know, but she did.
Blake glanced at her over his shoulder and nodded, dropping his hand from the man’s shirt and stepping back. Turning and directing an order to no one in particular [sic] “Take him inside and get the first aid kit. See if Seriana can fix him up.” Blake didn’t wait for a response and barked out more orders. “Someone stay with this bastard and get Adam inside”. [sic]
The crowd dispersed in a flurry of movement. A handful of men stayed with Blake. Amber moved quietly out of the way, watching Blake with his people. She felt the admiration and respect the pack held for him. Even though things were still tense, she relaxed somewhat. There were so many people around and she assumed that everyone here was part of Blake’s pack. If that were the case, then there was a good twenty to thirty werewolf’s [sic] bustling around.
“Search the grounds for anyone lurking around. Let me know immediately if you find anything.” He looked directly at her Remember, my love it’s our people, not just mine. [sic]
If you spotted four instances of “[sic],” then you’re paying attention.
I don’t think I was harsh. In fact, I worked very hard to make sure my review wasn’t harsh or mean-spirited or any of those things–I respect the fact that Bast wrote a book and was willing to put it out there to be judged by the public.
However, I wasn’t going to pretend I liked the book when I didn’t. Other readers deserve to know what lies in wait for them when they pick up No Remorse. There are better werewolf stories out there, in my opinion, such as Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver: it has excellent character development, a believable storyline, and professional-quality writing (and editing). And, like many of my critics on Amazon.com mentioned, Shiver is a unique take on the tired old werewolf mythos. I believe Bast attempted to write a book like that, but the “special powers” she gave Amber (the ability to turn into an invisible flying pleasure-glob, for example) were unbelievable at best, and not at all appealing.
What perturbed me the most about the response by Bast’s irate fan girls was the assumption that I was somehow forced to read this book, and that I harbor some kind of grudge against paranormal romance. Clearly none of them bothered to read my blog, or they’d have read my short story My Brother the Wolf, or perhaps my flash fiction Daddy’s Little Occult Supernatural Monster (also, not surprisingly, about a werewolf).
Regardless, I had more hits yesterday to my blog than I’ve had in over a week. As irritating as it is to be slandered by total strangers for simply giving my honest opinion (which I was asked, by the author’s publicist, to do), even bad publicity counts as publicity, I suppose.
Whoever said controversy was a blogger’s best friend might be more right than he knew.
Update: I have officially been removed from the blog tour’s website. I was originally listed under April 17th. Way to show real class, MaryLynn!