I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I initially picked up Solid. Not because it didn't seem like an interesting book, but because it also came with a disclaimer from the author: "the focus of book one is establishing relationships more than abilites." It didn't strike me as a good sign that the book was being defended before I'd even read it, but in retrospect, I can definitely understand why.
Solid isn't a badly-written book, style-wise. It surprised me greatly by lacking a lot of the grammatical and technical errors, plus the awkward phrasing and stilted dialog that you tend to expect from self-published titles. The characters are believably written, if somewhat one-note, and stylistically the only real issue I had was Workinger's tendency to add redundant summaries to the ends of some of her dialog.
Plotwise, however, Solid is thin. Very thin. You see that summary up there? That's about the extent of it the book. Kids come to military camp, learn they have powers, discover things might not be exactly as the seem...and then solve about twenty mysteries - some of which they didn't even know existed - when a chatty villain just strolls out of the forest towards the end of the book and starts explaining. Because...our page count ran out?
Maybe it'll become clear if I read Settling, but I honestly don't understand why Solid ended where - and the way - it did. The plot is really almost an afterthought - I mean, the only reason we even had any conflict at all was because halfway through the book, our heroine conveniently overheard a suspicious conversation between the bad guys that was somehow loud enough to hear clearly, but not to give away even the sex of the participants. Not sure how that happens. At any rate, it certainly wasn't woven into the story.
It felt like half a novel to me - the introductory half, with a conflict, plot "twist", and confrontation tacked on so that it could be released as a complete one. But why? If Settling is more about the overarching plot and ability development, why not make them one novel? Solid's ending is its biggest problem - for the sake of quantifying the impact somewhat, I'd say it cost Solid at least a star, probably more if there had been some sort of attempt to create a more complicated, interesting plot. The solid - pardon the pun - writing foundation is there, but critical elements like a sense of creativity and passion are missing...
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