I hope that everyone is doing well, and settling back into the daily grind that many dread.
Things have been going pretty well, especially now that I back from a trip, and I can continue to do something that I enjoy.
On my way back from the trip, I received a request from a writer that was attempting to dip her toes writing books and I decided to take a look into her debut work.
Today, I will be reviewing that title, which is called Memory Storm by R. T. Ensari.
Enya has lived an unhappy life with an abusive father and bullying at school and seeks to get her own freedom in her adult life.
However, with the early discovery of her desire to see misery, she might not be able to get the freedom she desires, as she ruins the lives of other.
From the official summary given on Amazon, which can be found at the link provided above, it seemed like it might be a decent read and I was really looking forward to it.
And after taking the time to read this, I found it to be alright.
From the moment that I opened up this book and started reading the first pages, I did not want to put it down for any reason.
Readers want to be able to dive right into a story, as I have brought up in many of my other reviews, and if they can quickly get into the work, they might be more willing to ignore any flaws that are present, at least the very minor ones.
In this regard Ensari did quite well and helped me to actually be able to get into the groove of the story, as well as made it seem like I was having a bit of fun reading it.
If she was not able to do this much, I would have been really disappointed because that would have meant that there was no effort put into the work and readers hate when it feels like there was hardly any effort put into a work, even if she does acknowledge her inexperience, which is something that I do applaud.
However, because she did put in enough effort for my attention to be captured and held, I feel like giving her a bit of praise for doing something right.
I also liked how not all the characters she created seemed to be dumb.
When Ensari initially asked me to look at this title, she told me that this was a psychological work and that means that it is not only important for a character's state of mind to be explored, much like can be see in Death Note or Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, the latter of which I still regret reading due to how disgusting things were, but the characters must have some kind of obstacle that can pose a threat.
This threat can come from themselves, which can come from things from the past, and those that have caught on to what is going on, and two such characters seemed to have some suspicions in this work, though only one was suspicious due to some kind of actual investigation.
As much as I like the idea of some evil person bringing about ruin to others, things can become pretty boring when there is nothing to wreak havoc for such a character's plans, seeing as we are not really rational in our daily lives, and things did not always go the way they were planned.
If Ensari was not able to deliver on this, I would have ended up hating this book just as much as I dislike seeing people use God to manipulate people into doing things that are not really good for them or anyone else, as it would have totally failed in delivering what fans of psychological works would expect to get out of the book.
Fortunately, she did not fail in this manner, and I can safely say that she was able to deliver at least the bare minimum of what is to be expected.
Hopefully, she can improve upon this, so that I can actually be glad that I read something from her, because I would prefer to see people improve their craft, just like any other reader, instead of seeing them go downhill.
Then again, it does take some time to find one's stride, so I would not be surprised if it takes Ensari more time than it took Agatha Christie to actually be able to do everything right.
Still, Ensari does deserve some praise for being on the right trek.
The thing that I liked the most though was how I was not as disgusted by what happened in the book.
Back when I read the book that introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world, I hated how some of the content featured in that work seemed to be way worse than the anime out there that is not considered pornographic and it turned me off of checking out the rest of tetralogy, including the beloved Silence of the Lambs, though still not as bad as a I title that I heard about but do not want to mention, as the official summary alone was pretty disgusting.
However, as Ensari told me, the content presented was not graphic in any way, in spite of there being some serious subject matter, and it actually felt like the story really was focused more on the effects of what had happened to Enya after the trouble.
Now, there are times that such graphic material is necessary, as it is important to the story or getting to understand things better, but if the important aspects of a story can be expressed and the characters to feel fairly realistic, it would be better if such things were left out.
Many, but not all, fans of visual mediums of entertainment, such as television and movies, especially movies from Hollywood, might be fine with the eye candy that is gratuitous violence or sex, as they do not care too much for a story, but avid readers are not impressed by such scenes because it shows that the writer is doing nothing but pandering to the lowest common denominator, instead of delivering a story.
Having a story to tell is the most important part of a work of fiction and that can only be brought about by making sure that the unnecessary fluff is not added, and might disgust the reader.
If Ensari delivered the kind of eye candy that is associated with many Hollywood movies, I would have put this down much quicker, as she would have shown me that she did not deserve the time that I spent reading her work, and I would have felt lied to about what the work was.
However, because she did not do that, I actually feel like giving her her first round of applause.
Hopefully, she can still deliver more books like this, so that she can attract more readers, which is something that every writer would want to see happen, otherwise, she would only disappear into the garbage pile that only seems to be growing in the world fiction.
Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything that I particularly liked, at least that could not be shoehorned into what I already talked about.
Because my attention was captured quickly and held for much of the book, not all of the characters were dumb, which helped add in more conflict needed for psychological fiction, and that there was no gratuitous violence or sex, this book was fairly decent.
Although there were things that I liked about the book, there are some issue.
First, the protagonist was terrible.
When a person reads or watches a work of fiction, they go into it, expecting to like main character or a few others, thinking that it is a necessity of a good book or movie, and it ends up disappointing them greatly.
However, avid readers know that a likable protagonist is not the be all end all of what makes a work great. In fact, what a great work of fiction needs is an interesting character.
Now, some of you guys might be wondering how a character can be interesting, even when they are not likable, as they associate a likable character to be an interesting, but it is definitely possible, as discussed in a post that I linked to in my review of Saga of Tanya the Evil, because the audience wants to actually see how they bring about their own ruin and there are still thinks that make them seem interesting.
Unfortunately, Enya is not only unlikable enough that she deserves to get knocked down a peg or two, like Tanya Degurechaff, but she is also uninteresting enough that I did not really care what happened to her.
Readers want a character that is interesting more than they want a likeable character that they can feel sorry for, and Enya is not that person.
If I had to say why, she seemed to be a dull character, in additional to being unlikable, it would have to be because Enya did not seem like she was human making her own decisions.
While many of the things that happened to her were her own fault, as shown in the book, such as the mistake of having the psychiatrist examine the son of her husband come to their home, the way that Ensari wrote things just made things seem like Enya being dragged along for the ride, instead of actually being something that would illustrate what happens after children suffer abuse that goes unreported.
For example, when Enya is at school and meets somebody that she seemingly forms a good bond with, she seems to be just like any other girl, enjoying the good life, before she suddenly discovers the thrill of seeing somebody suffer.
Even though I am no expert in the realm of psychology and I have not seen what happens to everyone who suffers abuse by those that should be protecting them, this does not seem to be very believable because abused people are usually going to be distant or keep to themselves, at least when looking at reason victims stay with abusers, as discussed in an online post by Toby D. Goldsmith on PsychCentral.
Yes, Enya did have a good a loving mother, since only her father was the abusive one, at least from what I got from the book, whereas somebody like Boku Dake ga Inai Machi's Kayo Hinazuki never had a loving parent, but it still did not make things seem to be that much more believable, since she was strong enough to leave her father on her own.
Out of all the various kinds of fiction, the psychological genre demands that the characters must be fairly realistic and believable because what goes through their mind is focused upon and the only time that seem to occur is in Enya's adult life.
I am not too sure about you guys, but this is already a sign of a terrible character, and it only makes things when I get the feeling that this a character that I should have liked, as Ensari told me that the ending is supposed to be tragic.
Speaking of tragedy, this was not really what I would call a tragedy.
In a tragedy, there must be some kind of sadness or a terrible outcome happening to a protagonist or protagonists.
For example, in the Narcissu visual novel series, many of the protagonists are fated to die from the very beginning, as most of them are in hospice, but the way each of the characters were written, in spite of the cliched journey to discover themselves, was done so well that I still experienced sadness came for them because the characters felt real and the bonds felt real.
In the case of this work, the sadness only existed while reading the ending and it was not really unexpected, even though it was not hinted at in the beginning.
Unfortunately, this was present because of how poorly Enya seemed to be written.
If Ensari worked on things a bit more and made Enya seem to be that much more believable, things could have really felt tragic, as she had intended, and I could have really enjoyed this much more than I did.
Oh well, this was just a debut novel from a writer I never heard of, prior to their request, so I cannot expect to find gold.
The thing that I hated the most was how this work fairly difficult to read.
Even though I was able engross myself in the book rather quickly, I had troubles following along because there were so many errors present that I do not even know what was a typo and what was not.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when publishing their work on their own is that they do not even bother proofreading and editing their, which is why self-publishing gets such a bad reputation, but writers, such as myself, tend to make a ton of mistakes, as should be noticeable in my reviews and stories, and those errors that are present can make things very difficult to read and understand.
However, when a writer takes the time to have people look over a work, or wait a while, before looking over a work again, and fixes things before publication, the errors and typos go down to an amount that it can be read without any difficulties.
Looking through this work, the book had so many errors that it gave me the impression that Ensari did not even bother to do any proofreading or editing before she published the thing.
Now, I will admit that editing a work is not really that easy, since there are so many variants of all the languages out there and each one has different grammar and punctuation rules to follow, but each of the rule sets helps to make things that much more understandable for that region or people at large.
If a writer does not bother to get their work proofread and edited before putting it into a book, it shows that they do not care about their work, no matter how much work they did to actually put the story together, and will only make them look worse than they might actually be.
Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that R. T. Ensari is not new to the field of writing per se, according to her Amazon profile, the fact that she put out something like this makes me less willing to check out more of her work, though it is not bad enough that I would throw her into the same trash bin that I sent John Grisham into after his travesty The Whistler.
Hopefully, Ensari will make sure that her future work is proofread, because I would really rather not be bashing her so much, even if she is fine with what I have to say here, since she did not seem to be cocky when requested that I look at this book.
Thankfully, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly hated, at least that could stand out as much as what was talked about, so I can just let things end here.
Due to the fact that the protagonist was unlikeable and uninteresting, as she did not always feel like a human, the ending was neither tragic nor unexpected, with only some sadness towards the end, and the lack of any proofreading or editing, this work went from good side of okay a little towards the side that made it look not so great.
Despite the fact that were a few things to like, as Ensari did meet a few bare minimums, the negatives overshadowed things enough that it was only good enough to kill time.
I would hesitantly recommend this to fans of psychological works, because all it does it meet the bare minimums and is not that amazing, aside from the lack of eye candy, but you would not be missing anything if you decide not to read this.
As for everyone, I would recommend avoiding it, because it cannot serve as a good introduction to the psychological genre and the lack of proofreading and editing makes it difficult to follow.
If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.
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