This book surprised me. By the end of my first reading session, I was prepped for a brain-at-gunpoint read-through. As seems to be the case with most of the indie books we've read so far, the first impressions Amaretto Flame made were bad ones: grammatical errors, awkward phrasing, melodrama, weird pacing, and that goddamned telling reared their ugly heads before I made it to the end of chapter one. But as the story progressed, little by little, the makings of an interesting world began to show through the rough exterior.
Amaretto Flame ended up being interesting despite itself. There are flaws, consistent flaws, most of which would probably be deal-breakers for a lot of readers. The writing is undoubtedly the biggest one - it's often off-putting, a strange patchwork of awkward similes, cliches, bad dialogue ("If you're anything like me, then I hate you almost as much as I hate myself" - who says something like that?), clunky wording (sometimes the thesaurus just over-complicates things), and random moments of fourth-wall breaking. Can I just say that I really dislike that? I find it incredibly cheesy when a character just randomly interrupts their narration to address the audience, and Olivia does it more than once. Distracting.
It doesn't help that we run into crapton of blatant exposition every few paragraphs in the first half of the book, and while I understand the need to fill the reader in on the world and characters, it really needs to be done more naturally here. Olivia's frequent info-drops have a huge hand in making the narration stilted and awkward. Unfortunately, the first chapter, the part that should be getting us hooked, is like 60% stilted exposition, and for me, at least, it was a huge turn-off.
The other...let's say 35% of the first chapter (these numbers are SCIENTIFIC AND FACTUAL) was made up of telling, which was my other huge problem with the book. It literally begins with the words "I was angry." People. LISTEN TO THE ROBOT DEVIL
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