I’ve often said, and with good reason, that critics have thus-far treated me pretty well. While certain lines in a review may point out weakness in my books, generally the overall assessment is quite good. Because of this, I often pay attention to those mentioned weaknesses, and see if I a) agree, and if I do, then b) see if I can fix them next time around. I consider it a pretty constructive relationship.

However, last night I came across another review at BellaOnline, “The Voice of Women”, and was surprised by what I think is my first truly negative review, by Karm Holladay. After giving a run-down of the story (which is admittedly hard to sum up given the structure I used), she says:

My problem with Liberation Movements is threefold: first, it should have been set in a real country, not just an unnamed Soviet place. The setting is colorless, and it could have been rich with ethnic tensions. Second, the 1968 story is weak and too obvious: I knew what Peter was going to do the minute he met Stanislav.

Third, and worst, the book is a mess of conflicting viewpoints, tenses, and events happening out of sequence. An author should craft the best story in the most clear-cut way. With simple writing as an effortless vehicle for strong characters and plot, an author can immerse readers in the experience. An author who insists on showboating just gets in everyone’s way.

Liberation Movements felt like a product of author arrogance: never mind the story! Look at me, dazzling you with literary exercises! This renders what could have been an experience into a mere stylistic in-joke. It is a disservice to the readers, and gets one star (* = not recommended). Follow the link to Amazon if you must, but buy something better than Liberation Movements.