Showing posts with label Viola Carr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Viola Carr. Show all posts

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Devious Dr Jekyll by Viola Carr

Rating: WARTY!

I know exactly what you're thinking! Why oh why if he hated the first volume so much, did he ever begin to read the second? Well, there's an apropos for that!

I started reading this one, thinking it was the first of the pair I had from the library, but it was not! I had a bad feeling about this, and when I examined the two books more closely, I realized I'd picked up the wrong one to begin with, and it was the second I'd started reading! There is nothing on the cover to indicate this is 'Volume two of the Miss Hyde series' or whatever. There is a small note on the second volume indicating that the author wrote the previous volume, which If I'd paid more attention when I grabbed the book to begin reading, I would have noticed! Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa!

I wasn't enjoying volume two anyway, so I halted this and started on the first volume, which I gave up on at about ten percent in. I read a bit more of this one, to get it to ten percent afterwards, but it wasn't pleasant reading. This had the same problems the first did: unappealing characters, uninspiring plotting, boring excuses for steampunk, a changing voice between Eliza and the neutered Lizzie, and perhaps worst of all, the werewolf male protagonist was back right from the start. Barf.

There were some anachronisms in the books, too. I forget now which one this was in, but the worst one was the use of the term chauvinism to indicate sexism. The term Chauvinism was known in Victorian times but back then it did not have the meaning it's most-often associated with today; back then it meant something along the lines of the British term jingoism: blindly exaggerated patriotism. It had nothing to do with sexism - a coinage that didn't come into use until the 1930's, so no woman in Victorian London would have described a man as a male chauvinist.

So in short, this second volume was a fail just like the first one. But hey it's a series, so why not run with it? Maybe the publisher can sucker some addicts in. Not me. This is an exemplar of everything that's wrong and wrong-headed about novel series. You have my pledge as an author that I shall never write one. It's far too easy and cheap for everyone except the poor suckers who buy each tiresomely repetitive and derivative volume.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

Rating: WARTY!

I read ten percent of this, and gave it up because it was so bad and so trope-ridden. There is nothing new here, nothing unexpected, and it has nothing to offer. Some American writers can do a Victorian London well, but too many cannot, and this one cannot.

I'm tempted to say that the steampunk element is muddled with everything but the kitchen sink, but in fact I think there actually is a kitchen sink. It has fairies and werewolves and on and on, and the steampunk seems to be entirely confined to clockwork servants, so that really isn't any steampunk either, to speak of. In short it was a very confused effort.

The main character has nothing to offer to the discerning reader. The one hope of saving this - the fact that Eliza inherited her father Henry's 'condition' - is entirely predictable, but unfortunately brings nothing, unexpected because instead of making Lizzie truly bad, as was the original Edward Hyde, this author makes her cutesy and gelded. Lizzie Hyde turned out to be a complete disappointment. Eliza is the usual antagonist Victorian female in YA steampunk novels, and that's not a good thing. She predictably has the hots for the snotty, obnoxious, and overbearing main male character, who happens to be a werewolf. I don't read werewolf stories, so for me this was the last nail in the coffin of an already deathbed effort.

I thought this book was lost and muddled, contained far too much of the squalid London and nothing in the way of interesting or engaging characters or steampunk contrivances. The ever-changing voice was a major irritation: Lizzie gets first person, Eliza gets third. I cannot stand first person voice unless it's done exceptionally well, and this was not. In short, it's an all-around fail and I can't recommend it.