I am going to start out by saying, you should read this book. The second half is worth it. But I gotta be honest. I am not sure how this book is getting three stars from me. At about chapter 8, I was ready to throw this book out. Confusing passive voice littered the first half of the book. The writing was a nightmare and not in a good vampire novel way. Then Chapter 8 arrived and it was basically a prologue dropped into the middle of the novel, telling a story we basically had figured out anyway. And chapter 7 included the first half of the prologue but seen as a story told by Leisha to Samantha. I gleamed about one paragraph of needed detail from that entire back story. At this point, the book was barely holding on to a single star.
But I need two things to like a book. First, it has to be good enough to keep me up at night and second I have to want to read the second book. At about chapter 12, I was certain the answer to both would be no. But then I read the second half, in one late night. I couldn’t put it down. I am pretty sure I will read book 2 when it comes out.
This leaves me to wonder if the first half was written a long time ago by a much younger Adrienne Monson, who finally grew up as a writer before finishing this story.
Dissension is vampire novel published by Jolly Fish Press in February of 2013. It is clean enough to be young adult but has a story line targeted to both adults and young adults.
The novel’s premise
Samantha, a sixteen year old girl, moves in with her father after her mother dies. After a premonition, Samantha discovers her father works for the government in a facility that is torturing other people.
Samantha rescues Leisha from the government facility only to find out that Leisha is a vampire. And from that moment on, Samantha is pulled into the vampire world.
Quality: Below Average
The number one issue this novel had was passive voice and mostly in the first half. The editors should have highlighted these lines and Adrienne should have written much better sentences. For example, in one scene Leisha is shot in the shoulder and then this was the following line: “She hissed at the pain and was immediately up in the air.” So this sentence is starts out active, “hissed”, and but ends up passive with “was immediately up in the air.” Why is she in the air? Did the bullet knock her in the air? Or did she jump? After re-reading, I feel like the author meant she jumped. But at this point I was pulled out of the story.
Ambiguous sentences also riddled the first half of the novel. This is probably a symptom of the passive voice. For example, Leisha is in desperate need to escape and there is a line: “Leisha didn’t waste any time killing them.” This sentence is very ambiguous. I assumed it meant she wasn’t going to take the time to kill them because escaping was more important. I was wrong. That line meant that Leisha killed them quickly. There was another ambiguous sentence when she “took no time” to rush at two men.
I am pretty sure that “realer” isn’t a word and should be “more real” instead. No it didn’t appear to be used as slang.
There was a missing space and comma issues.
I could go on. I had 30+ issues highlighted, mostly passive voice or eBook errors and other editing issues. Almost all of them are in the first half of the book.
More than the author, Jolly Fish Press should really take responsibility for this editing mess. If they had would have sent the passive voice and ambiguous sentences back to the writer, her story might be closer to 4 stars.
Imagination and Uniqueness
OK, so this an area where Adrienne excelled. Her imagination was top notch. This is the only reason I kept reading the book after the issues in the first half.
The history was well envisioned. The government facility and Samantha’s rescue of Leisha was done in rather simple but believable way.
The world of the vampires felt dark and dirty and evil, just like it should. It is amazing that this book somehow stayed PG for me. OK, maybe there was enough violence to make it PG-13 but even the violence wasn’t described in detail, allowing our imaginations to do the work.
There are two main characters and mostly the point of view is theirs.
Leisha is a two thousand year old vampire. Samantha is a sixteen year old girl. Their lives become intertwined and we follow these two characters throughout the story.
When both the characters were together, the point of view was not always done clearly. Sometimes it was hard to know if we were reading Leisha or Samantha’s thoughts. The POV character was easy to figure out, but needing to stop and figure it out pulled me out of the story each time I needed to do so.
The main villain Ptah, is described as an extremely evil chaos demon which entered a human creating the first vampire. However, when we see him, he seems to not be so much evil as he seems quite and calm. He is desperate for Leisha to embrace her vampire nature and join him. I kept being told he was evil, but I never really saw do much evil. I think what Victor and Annette did in her premonition at the end was far more evil than anything we ever see Ptah do.
In this book, Samantha sees visions of the future. The vampires are fast and heal rapidly. The immortals are strong and heal even more rapidly. Vampires also have other small gifts. Leisha can read minds. Nick can lure people to him. Annette can invade a mind.
I really think the immortals needed more explanation. Other than long life and healing, what do they have?
This book seemed to be formatted tightly. The margins are smaller the most eBooks and the space between sentences was smaller. This was both good and bad. The tightness gave me a slightly more book-like read. However, the margins had problems when coupled with italics. Certain letters, like F, were cut off on the right side.
The ellipsis were done incorrectly. They should have been done with non-breaking spaces.
These little things pulled me from the story.
About the Author
Adrienne Monson lives in American Fork, Utah. She is a wife and mother of two children.
Here is a quote from her Amazon author page:
I love Zumba, kickboxing, and weightlifting. I also love yummy foods, so I don’t look like a workout guru.
I met her at the Life the Universe & Everything writers conference. I probably wouldn’t have read her book otherwise. From our short meeting, I would say she is a good combination of serious and fun.