Book Review: MOROAICA, by S Gail Seymour

This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve yet to write, because I don’t know how to rate this book. On the one hand, if we go by the story, entertainment and how much it pulled me in, it would get one score and then if we went by editing and style, it would get an entirely different score.

So let’s start with the problems: In the prologue, we are introduced to the book in a first person narrative. The voice of that first person in the prologue is most definitely male, because his son calls him ‘father’. But then chapter one starts, and we switch characters but are still in first person, with a character named “Max”. It took me several chapters to realize, because I don’t read the summaries before I read books, that Max was really a woman, Maxine. That made me have to start over again and re-read things from that new perspective.

Next, the first sentence of chapter one has a grammatical error in it. That really turned me off to the book and had I not been reading it for a review, had I picked it up in a bookstore or had scanned through it on Amazon.com, I would likely have put it back and not bought it. That same grammatical error, particularly pertaining to dialogue tagging, was done incorrectly all throughout the book.

This book needs a good copy edit, no doubt about it, and on that score, I have to really say that the book can’t get more than three stars for editing.

But if I had judged the book by that alone, I would have missed a fantastic book.

The cover art is gorgeous. I really like the font and the color of it, and it fits with the story, once you know what the story is. If this book had been professionally edited, it would easily, and I mean, very easily, be a five-star rated a book. This book takes the old vampire lore and adds a new twist to it. I’m not a big vampire book fan, but I liked this book’s take on it, a lot. When someone sends me a book that’s a vampire book, I always ask, “With the proliferation of vampire books on the market, does yours have something special that makes it worth reading?” The answer to that question for this book is: Absolutely, yes!

The vampire legend is traced back thousands of years, but in a back story kind of way. We have The Breed, True Bloods and humans. The bloodlines get obscured down the line, so there are some who are turned and some who were “born”. It’s really quite fascinating to me how the author shared this information through the characters. The story has some underlying racism currents, with vampires being exterminated by The Breed, but humans not really all that comfortable with The Breed, either. The back story to this is displayed perfectly in the background, so that we readers get the perfect amount of information to go with the story. Genetic cleansing, genocide, is touched on as well. Some pretty strong topics, but handled in such a way so they don’t feel weighty and burdensome, like pushing an agenda, but rather, realistic, like these are things that could easily happen given the situation.

CHARACTERIZATION IS STRONG IN MOROAICA, BY S. GAIL SEYMOUR

Characterization in this novel is strong. The main character is so relate-able, I enjoy the first-person present-tense point of view. It’s like having an inside track to what’s going on in her mind. We get to see how she processes things, and I enjoyed that. She’s not always right, but unlike in omniscient POV, when the author would have to mislead us directly, with this POV, the character can simply misunderstand something that later becomes clear to her, and then to us, without it feeling like the author cheated us. Add to it that she can communicate telepathically as well, it sort of works to have her sharing her thoughts to the reader directly.

Max is a quirky character, a half-breed who is part vampire and part human, but due to a mutation or genetic mistake of sorts, she’s neither human nor vampire either. In one respect, she seems to have gotten the best of both sides, but she is considered a slayer, and works for The Breed, whose goal and mission is to kill vampires.

Considering her own father is a vampire, that makes Max’s life a bit complicated as she seeks to protect and hide her father, who is presumed by many to be dead, while he works on what Max believes to be a ‘cure’ for vampirism and the genetic problems that make her what she is as well–though there are others who believe he is/was working on something entirely different.

Little does Max know that her mother and father neither are who she has always believed them to be. In fact, she’s soon to find out that nobody in her life is exactly who she believed them to be. Her confusion and lack of information makes the first person point of view work well for readers too, as the author reveals these things to us at the same time she reveals them to Max.

I was able to get a good connection with Max, Dillon and several of the vampires. The only person I had a hard time really connecting with was Max’s mother, but she wasn’t a primary focus in the story.

PLOT IS FAST-PACED AND INTRIGUING

The first few chapters were interesting, but weren’t exceptional. By about midway through the book, though, I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed being in their world and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. The story is so fast paced that readers will never find a moment of boredom, making it hard to find places to take a break, so I kept flipping through the pages, one after another. It’s not so fast paced that readers get tired, but keeps a perfect, easy, steady pace throughout, without any unnecessary storyline or description. One of the things new and indie authors often do that is a mistake is to give too much information and description to the reader, not trusting the reader to get their story or characters. Seymour doesn’t do this. She gives the reader the exactly perfect amount of information, the perfect pace to keep the reader turning pages, and an exciting enough story to hold the reader’s interest.

MOROAICA IS PART OF A SERIES

At the end of the book, readers are left with a story that pretty much ties up all the loose ends, but at the same time, it makes it clear there is more to this story than what we’ve just read. Upon looking at the information the author has made available, this is one book in a four-part series, The Moroi Chronicles. I personally am looking forward to the future books, and hope the author takes the advice for seeking professional editing seriously. With the right editing, I truly believe these stories can be strong and quite popular in the hands of those who like fantasy, strong female heroines, and vampire lore.

I recommend this book, and if you’d like to pick up a copy yourself, it’s available online at Amazon.com and on Kindle. By the way, the cover on this book is really quite gorgeous, and looks really nice on the Kindle Fire in full color.

S. Gail Seymour, I eagerly await reading and I hope reviewing future books you will write. I think there is some blossoming talent here and that it’s only going to get better with time as you grow into the character’s voices and get a handle on the copy editing. Looking forward to your future works!

You can visit the author’s Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/S.Gail.Seymour.author

And visit her on Smashwords here: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SGailSeymour

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5 comments to Book Review: MOROAICA, by S Gail Seymour

  • Aliceson  says:

    Thank you for being so honest, and showing me how to truly dissect a book.

  • […] reading here: Book Review: MOROAICA, by S Gail Seymour :Texas Straight-Talk … This entry was posted in Books and tagged hardest, know-how, much-it-pulled, one-score, story, […]

  • Fantasy Reader  says:

    This sounds like an awesome book. I read a bit of an excerpt of it and wondered if it might not work as a young adult book too, as well as one for adults. I liked the first-person tone, like you did, of seeing inside her head. I’m looking forward to picking this one up when I get paid. It’s on my reading list!

  • WindowShopping  says:

    Wow! This is VERY exciting! It sounds as though Ms. Seymour might be on the verge of entering the rarefied heights of such writers as Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer… to climb those heights will REQUIRE excellent copy editing. I’m really excited, based on the review here, to read MOROAICA and hopefully a series of books to follow! I really hope the author will take the advice to heart!

  • Tony Payne  says:

    Great book disection, excellent review.

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