Posted by Ana Mardoll at Friday, March 04, 2011 Edit
by Eric Sandler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Travelers / B003CV7T8A
Gabriel doesn't mind living on the streets, really. He knows all the right houses to slip into in the middle of the day, for food, warmth, and television, and he knows which houses to break into in the middle of the night for same (the trick is to keep track of who is out of town on holiday). The muggers and thugs give him problems, but his street fighting skills have kept him out of trouble so far, and the free dojo in town lets him practice as much as he wants. And, of course, all this free time gives him plenty of opportunity to visit Peter's grave...
A great concept with a kooky implementation, this excerpt doesn't really get off the ground like it could. Most of the problems I see here are with the character of Gabriel. I hate to use the term "Mary Sue", but he's edging firmly into that territory. Some of his "awesomeness" needs to be toned down - characters who can take on groups of thugs easily get boring quickly, as do characters who can effortlessly pick locks - all this lack of effort reduces the reader's tension. At the same time, there are negatives to being homeless that aren't being played up the way they could be - the constant boredom (how many times can you watch "Star Wars", really), having to watch your back for gangs, being at the mercy of the elements, and basic loneliness for human companionship should all be nodded at, even if Gabriel's bravado keeps those things from being more than minor inconveniences.
Overall, I really like where this excerpt is going, and I think with a little tweaking of Gabriel's character, this could be a really good book in the near future.
NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.
~ Ana Mardoll
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