by Tom Sheridan
Plot:The plot is standard in terms of overcoming one’s past, but the presentation of the plot and its unfolding is superior.
Prose/Style:The memorable prose throughout takes on a lyrical bent, at times dropping into a short burst of rap lyricism, which enhances the narration.
Originality:This is not your average coming-of age-tale, but instead it is a coming-to-grips-with-age tale full of humor and heart.
Character Development:The father and son round out an excellent variety of cast members featured in this manuscript. The complexities in these individuals are layered, and their personalities all hold the readers’ interest.
Blurb:“Thrivers” is the tale of a father and son, both on different paths in life. This book is for all of the dreamers and endlessly hopeful in life.
by Dori Ann Dupre
Plot:While the plot does not contain a lot of riveting twists and turns, there is a certain intrigue to it. However, it would benefit the story to feel less like a passive narration of events and more like a series of events actively happening to the characters.
Prose/Style:The author has penned the story of her characters beautifully. The entire narrative is devoid of major typographical and other errors. This author knows her way around words, but could focus on making the language less passive.
Originality:The premise of 'running away from the past' and 'new identities hiding something terrible' are not exactly novel. But the story is much more than just this, focusing also on the many parent-child relationships.
Character Development:The characters were three-dimensional and well developed, from the major players to the very minor ones. None of the characters possessed stereotypical traits, as is prone to happen with minor characters.
by James Hutson-Wiley
Plot: The plot of “The Sugar Merchant” flows along steadily at an upbeat pace. As the title suggests, the book focuses very heavily on trade and commerce. It is, essentially, a journal of an ancient trader over several years. There are momentary sparks of action, but everything else is fairly mundane. One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the look at the other side of the Muslim/Catholic conflicts of the first century.
Prose/Style: Hutson-Wiley's prose is simple, but it effectively captures the atmosphere and voices of the historical people and places. The book would benefit from a light to medium copy edit.
Originality: The originality of the book is in the perspective. Books about the Holy Wars and pilgrimages are common, but are usually told from the point of view of the crusaders. The Sugar Merchant gives readers a look at the other side of the story, even if it is told by a Catholic monk.
Character Development: The characters are all fairly standard, and their personalities would be enhanced by some more delving into their origin stories, motives, and individual emotions – nevertheless, they are realistic and memorable.
by Cassandra Austen
Plot:The novel’s major points of tension are introduced gradually, and Austen captures the stakes of the story without veering into melodrama. As the novel comes to a close, however, some vital exchanges between the two main characters can come off as hasty. The ending could use the same nuance that was granted to the beginning of the novel.
Prose/Style:Austen’s prose is fluid and neat, albeit a bit typical of the historical fiction genre. Still, Austen’s ability to capture both Lady Catherine’s and Captain Averbury’s perspectives seems effortless, and her rich narrative vignettes supplement the stakes of the novel quite nicely.
Originality:Austen’s novel is fairly original, although it does present a few trademark tropes of the historical fiction genre. Overall, Austen’s ability to tap into each character’s highly individual point of view allows for a unique perspective on plot points that might otherwise read as cliché.
Character Development: Lady Catherine and Captain Averbury both read as nuanced, believably flawed characters. Catherine’s disdain for her upbringing, Averbury’s troubled past, and their romantic tension with one another are illustrated capably, providing an enticing and believable narrative arc for readers to enjoy.
Blurb:A thrilling hybrid of mystery, romance, and 19th century scene-setting -- sure to enthrall fans of historical fiction.