Author: by Starla Huchton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Since Maven certainly didn’t please me, I tried to think outside of my chocolate-piranha obsessed self. Objectively, I tried to think(turned out to be a mighty task) think what Maven could possible provide a reader with. Engagement? Entertainment? Heartwarming story? A story? Characters? Anything? Chocolate piranhas?
How do you say ‘Nope’ and shake head in dejection in Piranhnese?
Maven begins the *cough*story*cough* in a futuristic world with our 21-year old Nobel laureate protagonist, and follows her as she boards a submarine, falls for the resident prodigy and uncovers a deadly conspiracy.
Which would have been alright enough if:
a. The characters had been interesting.
b. The plot had been engaging, and had some kind of pace to it.
c. The world had been built.
Dr Lydia Ashley had a voice as bland as the food they serve in public hospitals. She is definitely a special-snowflake, and her whines and smiles about being so special and intelligent made me want to throttle her. Not really, because that would require me raising my hand, and I’d rather not waste my energy conserves(already depleted trying to finish the book) on her; she simply doesn’t rile me to that point, and that is a mighty shame.
Daniel Brewer, the other protagonist, I hated. He starts off as a lazy playboy and could have been developed as an acceptable character. However, his development is done in a single paragraph within the first twenty percent of the book, when he reads the sad history of Lydia Ashley and reflects upon his own nature of assholery. He decides to be a better person in those few lines and voila! he is, and he maintains the promptly acquired disposition throughout the book, with the kind of uniformity that even the military abandoned in the early 20th century.
The plot is, crudely put, stinking’-ass lame. There’s no mystery, no interest garnered and not even shock factors to rely on. It was a big, linear mess with one equation. Lame. And boring.
The world building suffers the same fate as the character development. By which I mean there is none. How is this world futuristic? How is it different? What goes on outside this ship? In fact, what makes this ship different from the submarines of today? Is it just speed and convenient, albeit banal, modes of communication? Or something more? The only advancement I could see was progress in hair-removal techniques. Of course, there’s also a glitch as nobody can guarantee how long it will take for the hair to grow back. Which is damn weird and unrealistic, because if there is no guarantee, or even estimated time, then the product won’t be out in the market. Also, our lovely protagonist developed a synthetic cure for organic dementia when she was nineteen. Moreover, there is barely any clue to what goes on in the submarine or what kind of research goes on until 65% of the story’s flowed by.
The only thing I was curious about was why Lydia couldn’t get preggers. So if you’re interested in finding that out… nah, it doesn’t really matter because that question isn’t answered either.
It’s a rather short read, barely 300 pages and yet, it took me two days to finish it. The last hundred or so pages were the worst and took me four fucking hours. I tried to motivate myself with the promise of re-runs of Firefly, but I never did take kindly to bribes.
It took me four hours. One-sixth of an entire day. Time I could have spent sleeping; time I could have spent not discovering chocolate-Piranha.
But readers have liked it. So who am I, with my chocolate-Piranhnese mouth that spews articles on tedium, to come between a book and its readership?
And that’s it for Maven and me, folks.
Review copy provided by publishers. Or something.
About the author
Starla Huchton released her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, as a full cast podcast production beginning in August 2009. Her first foray went on to become a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. Since her debut, Starla’s voice has appeared in other podcasts including The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine, The Drabblecast, and Erotica a la Carte. She is also a voice talent for Darkfire Productions, and narrates several of their projects, including The Emperor’s Edge series, This Path We Share, and others. Her writing has appeared in the Erotica a la Carte podcast, an episode of the Tales from the Archives podcast (the companion to Tee Morris and Philippa Balantine’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series), which garnered her a second finalist badge from the 2012 Parsec Awards, and a short story for The Gearheart (earning her a third Parsec finalist badge). Her second novel, a Steampunk adventure entitled Master of Myth, was the first place winner in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category of The Sandy Writing Contest held annually by the Crested Butte Writers Conference. Maven was her third completed novel and the first in a planned series of four, being released under the name S. A. Huchton. Nemesis is the second in the Endure series.
After completing her degree in Graphic Arts, Starla opened up shop as a freelance graphic designer focusing on creating beautiful book covers for independent authors and publishers. She currently lives in Virginia where she trains her three Minions and military husband.
But hey, I still have decades before I become a bitter, old lady and I know the book’s has its readers out there. Who knows, might be it’s you or your neighbor’s grand-aunt who’s still got the moves! Go on, enter the Rafflecopter form below and don’t cheat. There’s also a motley rules but the ones you should really be concerned with: a) You’re 13 or older. b) Winners will have 48 hours to respond to email.
- Print and ebook copies of MAVEN and NEMESIS
- An Angkor Wat postcard signed by Daniel
- Sandalwood Vanilla goat’s milk soap handcrafted in small batches by Haldecraft
- 3 oz of Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls (green tea) from Teavana
- Stonewear infuser mug with lid
- MAVEN and NEMESIS postcards with party mustaches!