Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Disintegration by Scott Nicholson

Disintegration by Scott Nicholson is a tale of a husband and wife who experience a very tragic event. This event (which I won’t spoil here) is the catalyst for the entire story. Throughout the reading, you are pulled deeper and deeper into the world of Jacob, and to a lesser extent, his wife Renee. This is a story where not all is exactly as it seems for the two, and how everything unfolds at the end is quite surprising.

The Good: The two opening chapters of the book are by far the best of the entire novel. A horrible event takes place and the details of what happens are painted very vividly and clear. The author does a fantastic job of pulling you in right at the start of the story. You feel what the character Jacob feels in those first two chapters. From the pain, the agony, and the disgust, it’s all given in such intense detail. For the first quarter of this book, I could not put it down because it caught me in its grasp so well.

The Bad: There are several things I could point to as being bad. But the main one that I had a problem with was the use of similes. The author uses them to such a large extent that they become a major distraction. For instance, at one point while fighting back tears, a characters vision is described as looking through a greased window. Alright, I get the picture. But to use these types of similes constantly throughout the book becomes tiresome and feel forced. This is especially true when you read a simile that appears to make no sense in helping understand a character’s feelings or actions. The icing on the cake for the similes is that the characters themselves use them a lot in their dialogue. It’s one thing for the writer of the book to take advantage of this with the narrative, but totally unbelievable to think the characters would talk in the same manner in every day life. If the use of similes had been toned down in the book by about 50% (yes, he uses them that much) it wouldn’t have been a complaint at all.

The Ugly: Every book of characters has your good guys and your bad guys. Typically, the reader likes the good guy, roots for him, and identifies with him in one form or another. The bad guy, well we don’t like him but we appreciate him and even sometimes you can care about him, despite his badness. There’s a problem when your story lacks someone that you care about. And Disintegrationhas this exact problem. All the characters end up being people you don’t like. The main character has no redeeming qualities and even in that one last breath of the book where you think somebody here is a good guy, it turns out they’re not. Maybe it was the author’s way of trying to do a surprise ending, but it was a horrible way to do it. I finished this book caring nothing about what happened to anyone in it. It doesn’t help that in the beginning and in other parts, the author expresses feelings of the characters that are then contradicted in the end. It makes no sense for a character to think and feel a certain way only to do something you don’t expect because they do not actually think or feel that way.

Overall, I did not like this book. What started out as a very intriguing and gripping story just disintegrated at the end. And I don’t mean this in a way that complements the title of the book; I mean it in a way that says the story just completely falls apart.

Disintegration is available for $2.99 on Smashwords.