It is too perfect... only... not quite... The author did everything right. EVERYTHING. But the seams of what the author is doing are... visible? I can see the evidence... (s)he is trying too hard...
It's funny, because I am ALSO listening to the Harry Potter books on tape, and noticing a preponderance of adverbs... Yet those are my favorite books EVER... Big no-nos everywhere, but it flows seamlessly and I'm tickled...
So what's my problem?
Y'all might have heard me grumble about pretty people, yes? How ANNOYING they are... *cough* I may be the only person who is quite so irritated with beauty, but I can tell you something. A person (real or fictional) who is gorgeous, smart, virile, coordinated and rich? 999,999 times out of a million is also an A$$HOLE. People just do not GET every blessing.
Let me share a little of an old debate I used to have with my Potterheads on this topic:
From a family virtually devoid of decency and love.
In Order of the Phoenix Harry watches a memory of a girl looking longingly at Sirius. He doesn't even notice her.
Some of my (naïve) friends thought he just had more important things on his mind. A fifteen year old boy? Seriously?
I THINK he takes girls for granted. He can have anyone he wants any day of the week... he is a flavor of the day guy. You got it. Sirius was a PLAYA... I can't conceive of it any other way... thereby giving him the crucial flaw he needs to seem REAL, because if he was really all that fabulous AND was just concerned about his friends *gag*
Character like James Bond? ALSO a PLAYA...
Now I actually have a beauty queen in my Cozy Mystery who HAPPENS to be beautiful, smart, rich and nice... but she has some deep secrets... a couple that come out in the first, a few more later... and before readers see too much of her, it's possible she's mentioned as a murder suspect.
I just feel very strongly that characters who are too perfect are NOT credible, and worse... not INTERESTING.
You CAN though, SALVAGE the situation... Take Princess Natalya from War and Peace... beautiful, rich, well matched for marriage... makes a BAD mistake and LEARNS from it... So if you MUST have pretty characters, it would be wise to be really rotten to them.
And you know... I'm not the only one who thinks so... Ted Cross did a blog just yesterday on unbelievable characters.
The next piece... I guess as a reader, I don't want to be able to see the decision making process. “I need to have some of this, and then this kind of sequence, and then this...” I get that there is an underlying formula for thrillers, but it needs to flow fresh and new. Surprise me! Make me LAUGH. Make a mistake! Make sure your MC is not prepared for every darned thing!
There is definitely worse criticism to get, but I think this novel might have benefited from a few rounds of smoothing.
You know I've been editing Legacy since I sumbitted Kahlotus for ABNA, yes? Well I am officially done with the 'big-edit' round. I am smoothing it, then sending it to the FABULOUS Jenny Milchman who reads family suspense and hopefully can give me a genre reader's opinion on whether I am on the right track.