Saturday, June 04, 2011

Playing for Keeps

Oh, the pain. The pain. I just got done reading Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty and . . . wow. I'm not even sure where to start.

The plot, such as it is? The story follows a not-quite-superhero who calls herself Keepsie. Keepsie is part of what's known as the "Third Wave" heroes of Seventh City, folks who have special abilities, just ones that aren't particularly useful. Keepsie has the unique ability that no one can steal from her. Those that try get stuck to what they're stealing.

Apparently a supervillain named Doodad knows this. He slips something into Keepsie's pocket for safe keeping. And it's this one little act that gets Keepsie and her friends caught between the heroes and baddies.

I really wanted to enjoy this book. I did. It's been waiting for me on my Kindle for a while now, so I figured now would be a good time to read through it. But this story just did not sit well with me. For starters, there are simply too many characters. I could not keep track of them all, especially since they all had special powers. It wasn't until toward the end, when Lafferty started "culling the herd," so to speak, that I got a handle on everyone and what they could do.

The plot, such as it is, felt contrived and was put together rather poorly. I had most of it figured out before the characters did, which frustrated me (some of the answers seemed incredibly obvious to me). The dialogue was stilted and unrealistic.

What truly bugged me, though, (and this may not be Lafferty's fault) is the poor formatting on the Kindle. There was a complete lack of clean chapter breaks, hyphens disappeared from the text (meaning words that should have been hyphenated gotallrantogetherlikethis), and the margins jerked around painfully in places. By the time I finished this book, I suspected the book was self-published. It bears all the hallmarks.

In short, keep your money safe. Don't spend it on this one.

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