BY MARIO SAINCIC
Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.
I received a free PDF copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Millicent Cramer lives a boring, unfulfilling life in Texas. She has never left Texas, let alone travelled abroad. Her sister keeps trying to set her up on blind dates, but Millicent’s heart just isn’t in it. Then, on a whim, she signs up for an online competition to win three months at a game reserve in deepest, darkest Africa. Millie never could have guessed the danger both her body and her heart would encounter on the trip of a lifetime. She wanted excitement and a fresh start, and that is exactly what she gets in Kulindwa.
The plot, pacing, character development, and word building are all done very well, and this would definitely have been a five star read if not for all the spelling errors and impossible dialogue tags. Smiled and Scowled should never be used as dialogue tags, as they are actions (beats) not a way of speaking. Basic errors are made like putting ‘main’ instead of ‘mane’, ‘site’ instead of ‘sight’ ‘weary’ instead of ‘wary’, ‘UV line’ instead of ‘IV line”, etc. Also more than a few sentences have missing words. The writing tends toward the passive style and could be tightened up. One big annoyance was the use of ‘yip’ instead of ‘yep’. Had this been used for one character, as a character trait, I wouldn’t have noticed it so much and would have found this a good device for the author to use. However, every single character, no matter their nationality or location, use this form and it just sticks out like a sore thumb so much that it leads me to wonder if this is yet another misspelling. Another thing that could be done away with are phrases like the following: I thought to myself … who else are we going to think to but ourselves? Unless it’s a book about mind readers, this is a given and could simply be ‘I thought’. Having said that, as this is in first person, the monologue doesn’t even need this kind of tag—we’re already in the character’s head.
Okay, gripes aside, I loved this book. I adored it, in fact. And other than the above, it would be up there on my top reads. This is so frustrating, as this author has talent, in spades. It kept me gripped and I read it in no time. It had me cringing, sitting on the edge of my seat, and laughing aloud aplenty. It did its job: it dragged me off my sofa and into Africa for a wild ride.
I give a soft8 out of 10 TRB stars, which translates into 4 out of 5 stars on other rating scales.