Faelorehn (Otherworld Trilogy, #1) - Jenna Elizabeth Johnson An intriguing premise ruined by bad writing, terrible pacing, a lack of tension, weak characters, and an absence of both focus and follow through.

I can't. I just can't.

I really wanted to like Faelorehn. That's why I got this anyway after losing the GoodReads giveaway. A story about fae and mystery? Yes, please! The idea is great, the story I think Johnson wanted to tell has so much potential, but the actual execution has so many problems that even the idea is ruined.

As another 1-star reviewer said, when cleaning the bathroom is preferable to reading this book, then something is very, very wrong. (Not with my bathroom, however. It's sparkling now!)

The writing itself is not that good, overly simplistic and meandering, poor word choice and poor grammar, lacking the punch that carries a reader through a story. As I read, I felt a very basic writing class on construction and structure would've immeasurably helped the work. Too much extraneous information thrown in, much of it description of things that don't matter and add nothing to the story or do anything to push forward the plot (and oh! How that plot needed pushed forward!). Unimportant things are repeated while what should be major plot points are just flat out dropped, forgotten and never referred to again. The pacing is terrible: for the first third or so of the book, nothing freakin' happens. That's not acceptable, especially since when something does finally happen, the scenes are so flat and are more like descriptions of something we missed "seeing" rather than scenes we're witnessing unfold.

The characters. Honestly...what characters? There aren't fully formed characters here, only the equivalent of paper dolls. No depth, no personality, no flow of true action and reaction; they don't even interact with each other in a way that isn't stunted! After a while I felt as if Johnson started writing without fully fleshing out any of her characters, using cardboard [Insert Character Here] placeholders along the way and never bothering to insert the actual living, breathing, well-developed characters.

Boring. Cardinal rule of writing: don't be boring. Faelorehn is excruciating, so boring I actually forgot I was reading it: I would decide to go read, try to remember where I put my book, and then have a moment where I couldn't remember what book I was in the middle of reading. Unforgivable.

Skip this one. Ignore the free ARC reviews or at least take them for what they are: reviews "purchased" with the gift of a free book. Although reviewers claim (and often genuinely try) to lack bias, there's often a very real danger that the ratings are skewed far more toward the positive side, out of some combination of gratitude for a free book, an affinity with the author for giving said book, and some subconscious desire not to upset said author. This doesn't apply to all, certainly, but in cases like this where there are so damn many that they take up much of the review page, take them with a grain of salt. I've never seen so many ARC reviews on a book before, traditional or self-published, and that should've sent up a red flag. How many copies did she have to give away just to get people to read?

Go read something else. I've heard rumors that the dictionary is more interesting.