Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings everyone! Unleashed here! You’re in for a treat: a mixture of the old and the new.
Back in March, I (along with two other reviewers) did a review on Charged. There were things that each of the reviewers pointed out which needed significant improvement.
The author of Charged decided to do a brand new version of Charged entitled Charged: Reboot. She invited me to give another look at the work to see if the rating will change in any way. Initially, I was going to do it right away but with the next work in the series, Shocked right around the corner, I thought it was best to do my re-evaluation of Charged and the review of Shocked at the same time.
First let’s recap what I felt needed improvement in Charged:
1. Cover Touch Ups: Although I see where the author was going with the cover, I would have liked to have seen it a bit sleeker. I can tell what type of Photoshop technique was adopted for it, and I felt like the author could have taken a bit more care with the design. (It didn’t factor in the final rating but was something I thought she should take note of.)
2. Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Fail
A. Dash-o-rama: Things draw my attention when they are used excessively, and boy, were there a lot of dashes! Well over a hundred dashes, and unfortunately, the majority of them were used incorrectly. In some instances, the misspelling of words (“ass-sets”, “bear-hugs”, for example), and in other instances, used where there should be a colon, comma, or no punctuation whatsoever.
B. Excessive I’s: There was a lot of I’s. The number of I’s put the dashes to shame. Sentence construction should be improved so that the amount of I’s used can be significantly decreased.
C. Too many words used repetitively (primarily the word “turn”): This was a turn off (well, slight pun intended) because the character can just do the action instead of the term “turn to”. It just seems extra to say “I turn and walk” and/or “I turn to look”. Why not say “I walk”, “I look”? If the author insists on using the term “turn”, then I feel like a thesaurus would come in handy to offer substitutes for this word.
D. Shifting Tenses: There were many stretches where the tense shifted from present tense to past tense, sometimes within the same sentence.
3. Choppy Resolution: Just when I was excited about the very last scene in the chapter, it cuts off in the middle of the action.
Onto Charged: Reboot
Updated cover: Charged (Reboot)
The cover did get a significant touch up.
The cover shown first is the old cover. The next cover is the new cover.
I do like the font of the new cover. It goes along with the metallic ambiance of the infected (references to the metallic sheen). If the author was going for a more mainstream feel, this was definitely a step in the right direction.
The challenge with putting an actual figure on the cover is making sure that person actually fits the character discussed within the pages. In the Charged narrative, Kat is described as a bit on the thick side (curvy and with assets), mediocre and lacking confidence— the type of female that doesn’t get noticed right away.
Yet the lady on the cover (because she looks a bit more aged that a typical teenage girl) is undoubtedly beautiful (those Mean Girls have nothing on her), confident and is rather slender. In that aspect, the shyness of the first cover seems to fit a bit better.
Verdict for Cover Touch Up: Visually, the 2nd cover is the winner but concept wise, the 1st cover.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
I could tell by the updated presentation of Charged that another set of eyes were placed on it. The amount of dashes had been decreased. The vast amount of excruciatingly long sentences reduced and constructed in a much improved manner. Present tense inconsistencies, for the most part, were corrected and there were less I’s in every sentence. The decrease of repetitious words and just letting the action happen really served to improve this work.
Verdict: Heading in the right direction.
There was not much done in terms of improving the resolution. The cliffhanger effect was still in play for the most part, so all I can do is hope this pitfall is address in the next work.
Old verdict for Charged= 6 out of 10 TRB Stars
My verdict on Charged (Reboot)= 7.5 out of 10 TRB Stars
Now let’s move on to Shocked, the second book in the Electric series:
Shocked by Casey Harvell
Let’s take a glimpse at some Pros:
Cover: Although the cover didn’t seem to fit the 1st book in the Electric series, it is well suited for this installment. Mainly because of the changes Kat has gone through physically as it relates to her ordeal. Also, it does reflect her maturity in the face of dire circumstances. She has become stronger, more confident and coming into her own.
Main Character Development: I am pleased with Kat’s growth. It is strong yet very gradual. She has become adjusted to her new power and the responsibility that comes with it.
Likeability to New Supplemental Character: Lucas seemed a carbon copy of Mason, and at first I couldn’t figure out why he was designed in this fashion until the plot thickened. Although I am content with this set up (for now), I really hope a bit more dimension is added so he can prove very pivotal in the future installment of this work.
Better Visually Overall: The work is told in first person present tense which is the staple for this author. Significant growth can be seen which indicates a variety of things: a combination of comfort in this style of writing and really utilizing outside sources to take a look at her work.
Cliffhanger effect eliminated: While Charged had one dangling by the foot, Shocked did not commit that same feat while having the reader wondering what is going to happen next. Balance is definitely seen and appreciated.
Now let’s take a look at opportunities for growth:
Syntax (Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation):
However, despite the beauty, there were some things that were missed. Examples of such are as follows:
Little to no involvement of the old cast: I do wish the care and focus that was given to Kat had trickled down to the rest of the original crew. I really liked Brie and Jared’s story in the first book. In this book, with the exception of creating a new character, their involvement was practically nonexistent.
Purpose Less: Baby Bear is no longer really a Baby. Although he was quite endearing and easy to get attached to in the first part, besides the reminder that he still exists, does he still play a huge role in the current story line? Unless “B” (as he is now called) is going to adopt “Beast Mode” tendencies for the third portion of the series, the author may have to find a way to further faze him out.
Same Script, Different Cast: A slew of new characters were brought into the fold. There was one group that mirrored a similar situation with what happened in Charged (when Kat, Brie, Jared, and Baby Bear were first escaping the invasion).
For those who haven’t read the first book, this would be okay. However if someone has read the first one, the start of the second book mimics the behavior of the first.
New Characters at the end not formally introduced to the reader: There was not an official introduction in terms of dialogue between an old character (like the doctor or the general) introducing these brand new people (the techs) to Kat by name. Therefore, at first I wasn’t sure who Mike, Jay and Lou were until the story traveled a bit more.
Plot Servitude: Too many characters were designed more for plot purposes than to have any lasting impact on the reader. In particular, one staple character’s change in action (Mason) had me wondering if it was a bit too drastic. Mason went from an overprotective macho type to an overbearing remorseful type. Given the extremity of his action, not unexpected, but on the same token slightly overplayed.
Too much electricity on the love story: Although I’m an advocate of Kat finding love in the right place, Shocked invested a lot of time in this component. While this segment of the story unfolded beautifully, other areas, like freeing people imprisoned by General Carch and staying on top of the infection felt a bit rushed.
More back story in regards to the new scientific developments: Shocked is heavily dependent on the dialogue of Dr. Ford to explain the science behind the newest developments. However, there is one particular segment towards the end of the work that I would love expanded on in reference to the success. I don’t want to give this portion away because of keeping the spoilers down to a minimum yet for this to be a read that all can follow (whether a sci-fi geek or not), that portion definitely warrants some expansion, even if it means that the pages of this segment increase somewhat. The only exception is if the full breakdown is given as a flashback in the third book but even then the author should not spend too much time on it if this is her method of storytelling.
Predictability: There were multiple bits to this story that were somewhat predictable. For a person that likes a bit of twist to the read, this could serve as a bit of a downfall, especially since this is the connective thread between the first book and the last book.
Verdict: This one is a bit of a struggle for me. On the positive side, deterrents that were prominent in the first book of the series were very little in this book. Yet the primary components that were extremely strong in the first read were watered down this time around.
I have to look closely based on my assessment as a reviewer as well as my take on it as a reader.
As a reviewer: I expected a stronger showing in the second book. More action as it pertains to fights with the infection as opposed to sprinkles. I wanted apparent collective growth in the primary characters as well as some of the secondary characters. The main pinnacle and deeper explanations of the technology and Kat’s powers should have shined at this juncture, marking the perfect set up for the third book. The side story (triangle of Kat, Mason and Lucas) should not have overpowered the dystopian haze of this work. Besides tiny twists here and there, nothing about Shocked clearly stood out from the core composition of Charged.
As a reader, the presentation was one hundred times smoother. Admiration and respect for Kat’s tenacity and bravery grew. I loved Lucas and couldn’t quite know what to make of Mason. I’m a fan of Carch’s ingenuity and Dr. Ford’s attempt to stay as many steps ahead as possible. With the acceleration of the central conflict, I did get a little lost towards the end as the newest designed weapon for success was implemented yet breathed a sigh of relief for the neater ending.
After weighing all the variables from both sides, I give Shocked a timid 8 out of 10 TRB Stars.
Advantage points did go to the reader aspect, as well as the big spectrum of improvement, which is why I dared to go with this rating.
However, I do suggest that the author take her time in really developing a strong showing for the third book in the Electric series. The work should be given a final look before publishing, since quite a few mistakes could have been wiped out had that been done. The author should also map out the goal of all the characters brought in and make sure there is equal representation in development and plot purpose. Also, ensure the central conflict stays at the forefront since Shocked dangerously got sidetrack due to the love triangle.
If the author can be patient enough to ring this in and provide further inclusion to all readers (not just those who are fans of sci-fi) this series has the potential to be a wonderful showcase of her budding talent.
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