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The Secrets of the Vanmars by Elisabeth Wheatley

by Lily Hall April 12 2017, 20:35

Well, this book was not bad. It's always a bit more of a bother having to read off my iPad since I need to sit next to a powerpoint to charge it as I go - otherwise it'll shut down halfway through which is rather annoying.  That's not really related to the book at all, apart from the fact that the spot next to the powerpoint isn't particularly comfortable to sit on, and so my mood is a little negative when I begin to read.

See, now that influences my thoughts on the book which makes it relevant *cough*. I made my own Literature Analysis. I'll be honest here - I had completely no idea what was going on in the plot or much of anything else up to around Chapter 2.  The Secrets of the Vanmars is the second book in the Argetallam Saga which means I'm missing out on a lot of backstory by reading it from the middle, but the 'recapping' didn't make sense to me.

I started the beginning of the book, without much knowledge on how it would be go about, but after reading the rather long introductory chapter I still couldn't figure out what was going on.  What I could make out of it was that a girl, presumably the main character (as I was unsure then) explains her adventures from the first book of the Saga to somebody else in dialogue.  Heaps and heaps of paragraphs of explaining and questioning and answering and it was just too much conversation! After a few pages of conversation and not much information absorbing, my mind flicked the switch to 'skim-reading mode'.  Until I got to the second chapter, in which I was still uncertain.

I got to meet the characters and actually get to know them a bit better at the second chapter - we're in a slightly different part of the setting, the mood is different and 'brighter', so overall it’s almost a fresh start.  Now we're finally understanding some things here!  I'm not going to go into detail about all the things that happened in each chapter, but I will mention that until Chapter 6, I was not particularly interested.  The plot would twist and turn in all directions, wandering away and doing strange things before going back on track - halfway through the book.  A great way to start ._.


First point: the writing.  As I read through the book, I couldn't help pausing and rereading a few phrases here and there.  I picked up a few 'errors' here and there, but I'm not completely sure if it's wrong or not.  It would just be uncomfortable to read over because it just seems incorrect - but I can't put my finger on the reason.  In some cases, it felt like we were missing a few commas or breaks, other times I was unsure.

Secondly, the diction.  There were a few words in there that I didn't know the meaning of.  Luckily I read this on the Kindle app on my iPad, so I could hold my finger over the unknown word and the dictionary would tell me! Hooray for technology.  This means I don't need to sit with a dictionary by my side as I read. (Just saying, this is the first time I've actually stopped in my tracks to search up the reading in a book.  For as  far as I can remember, anyway)  Sometimes it felt like Wheatley was purposely choosing a regular word and replacing it for a fancier one with a similar meaning.  Maybe it's just me and my tiny vocabulary.

Like I said before, the plot was so-so.  I was reading and reading and reading, thinking, "Come on! Let's get this party started and finally get somewhere in the plot already!"  It was kind of like the characters were just wandering around, avoiding the things that the needed to do.  (Wow, characters can procrastinate too?)  Sure, their little actions built up to the plot and helped a bit with the back story in a way, but it was a bit unnecessary.

The epilogue was a nice way to end it.  It was also kind of predictable, but of course we need to be filled in on the details!  It makes things a bit more interesting, and cliffhangers are always ... nice.  We already know that it's the Argetallam Saga, so it's more than a sequel.  Now I sort of would like to read on, to know what happens and so on, but it's not the type of book that would make me feel super-depressed if I couldn't read on.  Good, but not so great that I'd be unhappy if I couldn't know the ending, if you know what I mean.
So overall, it was a nice story.  The Secrets of the Vanmars was a good read (ha ha, see what I did there) but there were a few little problems here and there.  It could have been better, but I'm satisfied with the product so far.  

Of course there could be improvements!  3 out of 5 stars!


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