Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Bone Cell - Richard Futch

The real synopsis (from Smashwords):

A spooky dream of a gigantic crow and an old, crumbling church in the lost reaches of a forest. A hint of mystery, murder and mayhem in dark underground passages. A poor magician and his little girl, surrounded and harassed by a group of mad trappers…

These are the visions that bring Ian and Connor to the site of their abandoned tree house where, unsurprisingly, the crow awaits. As they sit in the embrace of the crow’s eerie time knot, the strange bird tells them a nearly two-hundred-year-old story of how a town and great church came to be and of the misery that befell it. Of how the church became home to many animals and birds, and of the massive oak that had since grown up through the floor and slowly engulfed the church’s remains. But now the tree has begun to wither and an avalanche of death will soon follow. The two boys are the crow’s only remaining hope because of an innate talent they have been diligently hiding. They will be required to walk into the teeth of an old crime that has gone years unpaid, and of course the crow cannot promise that they will not be swept up in the flood of danger and madness that is fast approaching. Because something has changed in The Bone Cell and Connor and Ian are the only ones who can do anything about it.

It really has a great cover. Coupled with the short synopsis (I really should have read the whole thing) and the fact that it was free, I picked this one up quickly. It's for a very young teen or middle grade audience. It's also very short and can be read quickly. It promises action and the writing is very simple. I think that sums up the positive things I can say. I wish I could be nicer in this review, but in all honesty I genuinely hope this version of the book gets edited and revised. It has potential.

If you decide to read this version of the book, don't stop at the short synopsis for the book. Read the whole thing. The one I pasted up there from Smashwords. The story is - and I kid you not - more than two thirds the crow's narration of a long ago trouble that befell him and others. It's a story about the crow, a mouse, a Fat Man, a Church, a tree, a Magician and his daughter, a cat, a spider, bad people... Unfortunately, it's filled with unnecessary details and sidelines that make it confusing. It really is two thirds of the way through the story before the reader even finds out what the crow wants from the boys (Ian and Connor).

The last quarter of the story - the part described by the short synopsis - is better. The boys finally get their dangerous adventure - although they admit that after all that story telling, it's a bit of a let down.

I really hate being negative on indie reviews - I know it's not easy to go out there and publish your work. However, I do think the story has potential. It just needs to be reworked and edited properly. Particularly while reading the crow's story, the entire first two thirds of this short novel, there's  a good chance that the reader will give up. If the author just revamped the story, maybe by deleting a substantial amount of the first part or if it gets broken it up with present day action (not just the characters interrupting the crow during the story telling) - it would make a much more appealing fantasy.

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