It’s probably fair to emphasise up front that I read the “Uncut Edition”.
At the time of purchasing it, I didn’t think about that much, but now it occurs to me that instead of signifying a longer read, it might refer to an early edition, which had not been subjected to editorial or Beta reviews. Unfortunately, it does read like it needs more work, yet it shows promise that such work would pay off and make it a really engaging novel.
I like the premise/genre (which is really a matter of personal preference), and I like the general plot concepts. Some scenes are particularly engaging; such as Erica’s face-to-face encounter with the rival group leader and the climax sequence. It seems these sections have received particular attention in terms of pace and involving multiple senses, which probably amounts to the classic brief of showing, rather than telling.
Most of the book, however, is riddled with little distractors. For example, the many, many times that Erica said something “sarcastically”…. just the word count alone made me annoyed at the author. Worse, was that most of the time the words said, and the context they were said in, did not match with a sarcastic/contemptuous tone. Was some other word intended? Ironic? Wry? I hope so, because sarcasm doesn’t make anyone more likable.
The very beginning was structured in a very unusual way, with the main character waking up buried to her neck; followed immediately by several pages of background narrative. Wouldn’t Erica be too consumed by her predicament for all that to be relevant at that point? There is a lot of detail throughout the book which does not really help us understand anything (EG why do we care that she does martial arts?); some detail that requires unnecessary mental stretch by the reader (especially in the Sacramento scenes); and other detail which could have hastened connection with Erica and her predicament in Sacramento, but which was not included.
That said, I think the story has the makings of something much better. The book holds up as a stand-alone novel, and although I am not tempted to read the next installment, I am tempted to buy a subsequent edition of this one to see how it has developed. It would be really nice to replace this review with one which has more stars.