BookLife Prize in Fiction
- by Yvette Carmon Davis
In Davis's novel -- the second in a series set in the end times -- George has become the President of the United Earth following the assassination of twin brother Paul. Two sides of the same coin, Paul followed the antichrist while George lives to save. The narrative, long on dogma and short on character development, suffers from unexceptional prose and a meandering plot.
- by Helena Golden
Golden creates an initially compelling, yet uneasy mashup of fantasy and modernity, set in an imaginary island utopia that is governed by a near-mythic figure known as the Raven. An icon of feminine grace, beauty, and intellect, the Raven nevertheless has little overall substance; as such, her romance with Culkin, a handsome member of a BBC crew documenting the Raven’s life, remains uncomplicated and unsatisfying. Golden's visceral descriptions of the otherworldly setting are marred by a prose style that tends to explicate rather than unveil.
- by Don Phelan
Strongly rooted in a Michigan beach town, Phelan's sweet, sweeping novel often crosses into sentimental territory. The short chapters tell the stories of many characters who encounter the same beech tree in different parts of the 20th century. The novel would profit from more ambiguity around how the characters' stories intersect as well as from lingering longer and digging deeper into each character's story. As it is, much of the plot is expected, and the characters, while sympathetic, often come across as one-dimensional.