Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Witch's Revenge

The Witch’s Revenge is written by Danny Odato and is his debut novel.  It features around an Indian village that becomes plagued by unexplainable accidents and deaths.

Let’s talk about the good parts first.  The base story of a girl out for revenge who learns dark craft is intriguing, and the village has likeable enough characters.  There is great potential in this story and it was different enough from other common topics that it was enjoyable.  It was apparent that Danny Odato took the time to understand certain close-knit aspects of a small Indian community.

This was easily identifiable as a debut novel by one main feature: editing, or lack thereof.  My first problem with this book arose from the cover photo.  There is a young woman in black that is very obviously not of Indian descent.  This struck me as unfitting, when so much of the book is featured around the importance of a traditional Indian village.  With so much focus on tradition, it seemed weird that there were a couple of Christian references to God from a traditional sense that would be focused more on a specific God and not just “God” in general, in Hindu belief. 

Danny Odato uses a multitude of Indian words, but offers no glossary and a lack of any explanation within the book for many of the words.  As a reader you are forced to try to take the context around the word to try to translate what he was meaning, and in some cases, you are left with a guess that is never confirmed, even after completion of the book. 

My number one complaint about this book; apart from the editing in general, would be a complete lack of descriptions.  I have no idea what anyone or anything in this book actually looks like.  I find it ignorant to just assume that “everyone looks like a traditional Indian”.  That could mean so many different things depending on the section of India that they are in.  The most description we get is about minute details, such as eyes gouged out or the beads of the witch.  Also the description of a persona was missing.  Instead of describing a character in a way that the reader can feel their emotions, the emotions are given repeatedly with no real descriptions, such as might saying someone walked depressingly and spoke depressingly.  I wanted to yell: “Quit telling me and show me”. 

Overall I give this book 2/5 stars.  I give Danny Odato props for putting himself out there and getting a book onto paper which is more than a lot of people have accomplished.  However, with that being said, you would think that he would have had some people look it over and edit it for me.  There was a complete 3 page section at the end of a chapter that was exactly repeated a few chapters later.  With some editing and possibly a descriptive writing workshop, I think that this story could blossom into something that would make a more enjoyable read.  It caters to a lover of witchcraft, India, fiction, mystery, etc.

*I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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