Monday, April 13, 2009

The Nezovats in Despair

This weekend I completed the reading of The Nezovats in Despair by Michael Zyskind. It is his first published novel. As a way of generating buzz, he asked me to review the novel on Amazon in exchange for giving me a free copy of the book. I have done this once before and I have to tell you that always attracts my attention! I really like discovering new authors, especially fantasy authors who have an original tale to tell.

This novel is subtitled "Book One" and is obviously the first of a series. The Nezovats are a race of tiny beings that live in the attic of a HOUSE. Their town of Nezoville is built in a 20 foot by 20 foot space mostly out of wood, and periodically the Nezovats must venture out into the HOUSE itself for supplies. The book's description says the Nezovats are the size of lego people but methinks they are smaller than that considering there is a passage in the book where a fly actually picked one up and flew with it.

When I began to read I was expecting some sort of "Borrower's" story but it wasn't long before I realized it was really quite different. Mr Zyskind has created an entire society, pretty intricately it appears, although certainly not all is detailed for the reader here in this first book. The writing style is what I call "smart" in that a definite writer-reader partnership is required. The reader must pay attention to pick up subtle hints dropped by the author in order to truly understand what is going on in the plot. The story itself takes place over the course of just one day, but it is a day unlike any other. The mysterious leader of the Nezovats, Lord Efron, is nowhere to be found but just what his role is in the events of the day is yet to be discovered.

The book is published by Sense of Wonder, a small press that seems to be publishing some cutting edge fiction. I do have a complaint though: it has been a long time since I have encountered so many typos and mispelled words in a published novel. A little more polished editing is in order. The book is also written from multiple points of view and it can be a struggle to keep the characters straight. And one of them is written in 1st person POV. But by the last third of the novel, the major characters shown through the rubble pretty well. I noticed as I read I tended to picture the Nezovats as little humans but kept getting yanked back to reality every 20 pages or so when there was a reference to their two hearts ("the pounding of my hearts was deafening"). That was sort of annoying but then it did serve to remind me these little guys aren't human...perhaps this was a writer's tool to remind us just what we are dealing with. I do think the book did a good job of setting up the society as well as the overall plot situation and I am glad I read it. I also wish the second book was available now so I can see what happens next.

Speaking of next, I've begun my next thriller/adventure novel: The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose. With my luck this will turn out to be the first in a series as well...oh well.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire