Review: Summer’s End by Lisa Morton
This was a free ebook won in a LibraryThing giveaway.
Summer’s End is a novella that could have used a lot more editing before it was published, and this is both content and copy-editing. It’s a work that would have been improved if Ms. Morton had read more on writing, because many of her errors are discussed in blogs and books. One of these, called the info dump in the business, featured pages of information that brought a crashing halt to the action within the first few pages. Further Ms. Morton used parentheses with a grating frequency. The information could have been more smoothly conveyed with dashes or commas, or rewritten entirely. There was also a paragraph that went on for two pages and change, and screamed out to be cut into pieces.
Characterization was also a weakness. The reader is told very little about the protagonist, named Lisa Morton, and what information is given is included rather haphazardly. The reader isn’t told that Mr. Morton is a bookseller until halfway through the book, and that title isn’t even explained. Does she own a bookstore, manage a bookstore, run an online bookstore? Further it’s difficult to believe that someone with such clear distain for Halloween would write books about the subject.
Ms. Morton is consulted by a professor, because of her book, the Halloween Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia implies that Ms. Morton’s book gives information on a range of subjects related to Halloween, which would not be in-depth, especially if marketed to the general public. An academic might consult this for basic information, but for a consult, they’d search for either another academic who had published in-depth scholarly articles on Druids or a book or books on Druids. Though the latter wouldn’t necessarily have to be an academic. The point is that Ms. Morton would not be considered for a consult.
The plot stretches the concept of suspension of disbelief, and this is not because it features supernatural elements. The idea that Ms. Morton and Conor o Cuinn are the last of the Druids negates the entirety of the Neo-Druid movement, who while not identical to their forbearers are certainly closer to the ancient Druids than an archeologist and a writer. And this doesn’t even touch on the fact, that contrary to the writer’s statement, these are certainly not the only two people in the world to study the ancient Druids. Further, the writer herself states that becoming a Druid, or a high priestess and be able to practice their rituals successfully requires years of training and learning, and yet, these two do it with very little effort. Further, they recite their incantations/spells/what have you in English, not Gaelic, which is likely what the Druids spoke.
This isn’t to say that the work was without strengths. The pacing was good, and the voice is quite strong and very easy to follow. Ms. Morton, the real author, makes you want to read more of her work. The story of Mongfind was also quite interesting, and she was more intriguing a character that the protagonist. In fact, if Ms. Morton were to write Mongfind’s story, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat.