Reciprocal (Infinity #1)
by Heather Couch
Publication Date: Jan 3rd 2015
Publisher: Dream Big Publishing
Find This Book: Reciprocal
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve got to be honest, this novel still needs a lot of work and was not ready to be published. However, I do not believe this is entirely the author’s fault. The foundation plot is intriguing, and simple tweaks could have easily made this a 3 or 4 star book. For this foundational plot the book gets 2 stars because this really could have been great. This book clearly was just not meant to be published yet. One key reason? As Heather told me herself, there was obviously no read through or editing done by the publishing company. I started off reading with the notes section of my phone on to record spelling errors or grammatical mistakes, eventually the task became too large and tedious for me to continue because there were multiple on every page. There were even instances where the character’s names were spelled wrong or the wrong character was mentioned. An editing service could have easily fixed these issues and considering Heather is now on her third re-write, I hope this problem has been fixed.
Another issue I had was how rushed the book felt. Events that could have been pages, even chapters, were done away with in mere sentences. This tell instead of show writing style was off putting and made the story and characters distant from the reader, additionally this just made the book seem awkward. 30 pages into the novel and I had been in and out of the town of Mobile, had a race of aliens thrust upon me (which wasn’t explained the entire book), the main character (or at least I think she was the main character) was kidnapped, and the main character’s pseudo-boyfriend was behind the kidnapping and was actually evil, and there are about 20 different teenage characters and I haven’t gotten a chance to know any of them yet. I don’t even think I could give a single character’s same after the first 30 pages. Overwhelming to say the least. By page 169 I could name names, but I didn’t know the characters well, and I definitely didn’t care about any of them. The writing was underdeveloped and stiff. By elaborating and creating more detail these flaws could be easily fixed. Establish things that the characters know, such as Castra, Infinity, Tutus, Pestis, or even characters, before they become to crucial to the plot, even while they’re crucial to the plot is tolerable, but please explain them instead of inserting a word that’s never been mentioned before and never gets explained. For example, “Victoria explained the old customs of soul mates sharing hearts,” ok… I guess that helps the character? But as the author you did not actual explain anything and I am still just as confused as before this sentence. This literally tell me nothing about sharing hearts aside from it being a ‘old custom’ (p158). Earlier on, someone was giving a speech and instead of just writing a quote and giving me some hearty writing I just got a single sentence saying “they were the same commands every dictator gave before trying to take over the world” that’s nice, so you’re not going to actually tell me what he said? And then this huge battle happens in literally 2 sentences. TWO SENTENCES. I am writing more details to explain this than in the book! Along the same lines is the use of adjectives. The same one’s were used over and over in neighboring sentences. It felt like a word search where the same vowel is used multiple times in a row creating an unusable chunk of the puzzle. No English word has 5 E’s in a row. No book should use the word ‘technology’ this often. Not even a science textbook.
Reading a book should not be this mentally draining trying to piece together everything because the author left so much out. There is just so much I’m still confused about. Why has the federal government not interfered? Aliens literally crashed unto the earth. Why is the federal or even state government not involved? How did aliens seriously go unnoticed? Why did aliens crash all over the U.S. over years at a time? Some many ships not travelling together just happen to crash on the same planet? The government is entirely incompetent and these teenagers have a ridiculous amount of sway. They haven’t even graduated high school. They’ve never even left this town before. How are they more effective then people trained to be in political seats pf power? How can Stephen’s dad, who’s been dead for an undetermined amount of time, have waited 17 years for peace with the humans when about the only thing that has been established is that they crashed on Earth 10 years ago? This is less crucial, but Alicia’s mom is totally alive, so why doesn’t she wear her engagement ring? You’re supposed to wear that right next to the wedding band. Why is is just in a box? Why is she not upset with the fact that her daughter literally stole this expensive piece of jewelry that is a symbol of her parent’s marriage. Why did her mom’s engagement ring just become Alicia’s? An easy fix would just to make it the grandmother’s old ring.
This book could have easily been twice as long, or split into two different books and I would have been much happier. The Chitimacha tribe is never mentioned the second half of the book, but they were made out to be the main bad guys for the first 100 or so pages. I still don’t entirely understand that organization or where they just disappeared to or why a group of teenagers on the battlefield changes anything at all, but that whole plot could have been expanded upon and made into it’s own arc. The second half of the book villainizes Michelle for seemingly no reason whatsoever and has Stephen’s uncle be the real secret bad guy. Again, this could have been its own separate arc. Too much is squished into this one novel.
Another flaw was how the plot moves un-linearly but does not indicate any change. It flows one paragraph to the next leaving me confused and grasping at straws trying to put together what just happened. Similarly, it switches POV’s with no indication whatsoever. What would have been best would be to switch between Alicia and Stephen’s POV and theirs only, maybe a different POV per chapter. Then start the book off with the aliens crashing to earth and the two of them meeting. Establish the aliens, their markings, their special abilities, their inability to be in the sun, and their segregation right off the bat instead of randomly bringing up facts after I though I already somewhatedly knew the situation yet never once got a description of what these aliens look like throughout the entire book.
I know it seems like I’m totally bashing this novel, but the basic plot is genuinely cool and interesting. This had so much potential. If the grammatical errors were fixed, the expanding upon of details and information happened, as well as the rearrangement of the non-linear scenes in a way that made sense, this book could easily jump up to 3 stars. Having less characters but developing and creating three dimensional characters with the one’s left over could easily have added on another star. I will be reading Constant (book 2) next and will give you guys an update about the writing.