Saturday, October 09, 2010

REVIEW: "The Point of Origin" by Duke and Nancy Kell

"The answers to most of our questions have always been there, but our failure to connect the dots could mean the destruction of the human race."

In this thrilling ride reminiscent of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," we are taken on a journey of epic proportions to find the truth of our existence here on Earth; a truth that speaks to our past and future, and a truth that may not be easy or safe for anyone to uncover. This fictional novel is founded in the Hopi prophecy, shared with the world during the Hopi address to the United Nations in 1992. With its basis in actual events, this story is both fascinating and eye-opening; just the kind of story I love to read! I could really see this book turned into an exciting movie and, more importantly, I could see this book opening people up to the idea of truth in the Hopi prophecy.

With all the potential this book has, I would like to see it go through a serious editing process. Although I wanted to be completely engaged in this story, it was difficult to look past the mechanics of the writing style. There are numerous examples of word substitutions (e.g., "idol threat" instead of "idle threat"), incorrect use of plurals (e.g., "friend's" when the plural "friends" was intended), misuse of past tense (e.g., "Brian lied down" instead of "Brian lay down"), missing hyphens in compound adjectives (e.g., "up to date card locks" should be "up-to-date card locks" or "card locks that were up to date"), and incomplete sentences made from what should have been dependent clauses (e.g., "Appearing and disappearing like a well oiled machine" has no subject, and well-oiled is a compound adjective).

Most distracting to me, however, was the inappropriate use of commas (or lack thereof). Commas were sometimes missing, most notably when someone was addressed in conversation. For example, when the President says: "Save this country boy's" I'm assuming he was telling the boys (plural, not possessive) to save the country, so it should read: "Save this country, boys." There were also commas inappropriately placed in ways that broke up the cadence of the sentence, perhaps changing the intended meaning, and rendering the sentence incorrect. Such an example is: "Everyone that was left, started running towards Oraibi, or their car, whichever was closer." The commas after left and Oraibi break up the main sentence inappropriately and the idea that everyone was running towards "their car" makes me think there was one car for the whole lot of them. Additionally, I believe the "what" should be "who" as it refers to people instead of things.  I generally look past the occasional typo or grammatical error (I am certainly not a professional proofreader), but there were enough of these errors, on almost every page, to distract me from fully engaging and enjoying the great storyline.

At first, I was also distracted by the very short chapters (some are only a paragraph long). This is a style preference, and I did get used to the varying chapter length as the story went on. I was, however, thinking that having longer chapters in the beginning and progressively shortening to match the increased pace of the impending climax may better match the pacing of the book. There was a general abruptness to some of the chapters that could have been avoided with additional context. Additionally, because of the long paragraphs and the failure to begin a new paragraph when a new person speaks, I sometimes found it really difficult to tell who was doing the speaking. This led to some general confusion for me during some of the action scenes.

A thorough editing and some additional revising to polish the writing would add variety and a little more "voice," and could turn this fantastic storyline into a bestseller. I would give the storyline 5 stars and the writing 2 stars (mostly because of the errors), which averages out to 3.5 stars. All in all, a fun and adventurous read with great potential!

3.5 /5 stars

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