A few weeks back, I wrote that I was frustrated with David Maine's Fallen. Well, I finished the book, and I have to tell you: it didn't get any better.
I really hated that the story was told backward. I mentioned in my previous post that this was disconcerting to adjust to, but it was even stranger when it went past the conception of the protagonist to the pre-child years of Adam and Eve. It's kind of like the tenet that a writer should never kill off his or her protagonist, only worse since it's done in such a gimmicky way. I decided to check out the amazon reviews to see if I was alone in my hate, and while many people actually liked the book, several did not.
One reviewer writes: "This is a pretty silly little book. Maine tries to unfold a story from the end to the beginning and thereby shed some new light on the Biblical story of Abel and Caine. Unfortunately, the story is just fluff. There is nothing new here. Maine proves what others before him have demonstrated: it is very difficult, if not impossible, to make these stories appealing by merely retelling them."
(I should reiterate that for some unknown reason I was under the impression that this was to be a humorous retelling of the story of Eden. Damn babies.)
Another reviewer writes, "Eve appears to be the one person in the story who has native intelligence, drive, and has more than a two dimensional mind. Abel is extreme in his innocence to the point that one has to wonder if he isn't mentally deficient. .... Where did all the other people come from? How did the boys learn the word "metaphor" and where did they develop their knowledge of husbandry ... This book is a hodgepodge of answered and unanswered questions. "
Exactly. The characterization could have been so much better. As I mentioned in my previous post, Eve's dialogue was bad and some of the word choice really pulled me out of the story. I think the story was told backward because telling it forward would have been so boring no one would have read it, and at least the gimmick got Maine some press.
Next time, I think Maine should do what all novelists should do: be creative. Writing a novel isn't just about telling a series of events, at least I hope not, and, preferably, novels should have something in them that shows the spark of creativity. There was a lot of potential in this story, as there is in any retelling (I disagree with the above-quoted reviewer), but this book just fell flat. Ick.