Author : Glenn Rolfe
Published : February 27, 2017 by Alien Agenda Publishing
244 pages(However my Kindle Edition only showed 197?)
I absolutely LOVE a good, short horror novel. There is something about the horror genre I find so satisfying when in the short novel/novella length, even the short story length. It’s so punchy, to the point, and the tension tends to hit you in the opening pages and keep you there until the thrilling finale.
Becoming by Glenn Rolfe certainly opens with a bang, as on the very FIRST PAGE we have our first encounter with the beautiful and vile creature set to destroy this town… they “lady in the lake” if you will. From there the story romps and staggers forward as the race to stay alive for Michele and the other residents of Avalon, Maine begins.
These kinds of stories bring me back to my childhood days reading a whole bunch of Dean Koontz, John Saul, and the like. Fast paced horror with plenty of tension to keep you on the edge of your seat. Almost like you mixed the page turner prowess of Dan Brown with the horror mind of Stephen King.
And I REALLY wanted to love this book.
The premise was fun.
A mysterious being in the lake taking and then transforming the people of this town into it’s own parasitic army to further capture and convert the rest of the town and bring them to her in the water. Things feel hopeless and much like reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, you better not get too attached to any one character because they drop like flies in this one.
The pace was steady and tense as we frantically sprint and stagger through the darkness on our way to discover the fate of the residents of Avalon, Maine. Look, it’s basically Invasion of the Body Snatchers told through a different lens, though that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun.
But it was the execution that failed this book.
I don’t like to hate on books.
Authors pour their heart and soul into creating these stories for our enjoyment, and that takes guts to put yourself out there like that. So please understand this isn’t a personal attack towards Mr. Rolfe.
That being said... buckle up because I have to be honest with you for a minute
Where this book fell apart so badly for me was in the editing and proof-reading primarily. So often I’d be tripping over typos, scratching my head at accidental perspective shifts, misnaming characters in the middle of the story, and just a lot of general errors that his editor SHOULD have caught and fixed.
And the book IS edited, per the credits in the front pages, which makes it all the more surprising that this book was considered finished.
Now BEFORE YOU GET UPSET AND CALL ME A SNOB ABOUT MINOR DETAILS… hear me out.
I can overlook quite a bit if a word is misspelled here or there, if there are a few sentence structure oddities, etc.. Lord knows I’m not perfect and my reviews are probably full of issues as I am the only editor I have access to currently.
But what I experienced in this book was beyond a few small errors.
There were a LOT of typos, a lot of moments where, for example, two male characters would be talking and all of a sudden the author was referring to them as she, or worse a time or two when two named characters were in a scene and the author suddenly started calling them a name of some totally different character for a paragraph before jumping back to the correct names.
But the biggest issue I had was around the page 93 mark when all of a sudden the entire format of the book shifted. Meaning font size, spacing, and the like. It stayed that way for a page or two before jumping back to what the rest of the book had.
It made it HARD to follow and at times had me contemplating the dreaded DNF
- The premise – these types of stories are fun to get lost in for a sitting or two as the mystery and horror unfold. Yes, it’s a pretty common trope. But even common tropes through different eyes can be a lot of fun.
What hurt this book
- The head scratching amount of typo’s, formatting, and general proof-reading errors that riddle this book from start to finish.
- The ending, while satisfying on one hand, also feels a bit odd. Almost like the struggle we see our main characters endure this entire story really didn’t mean anything because the outcome would have been the same whether they were there or not.
- The unexplained twist in which help arrives from an unlikely source, but no explanation as to how or why this happens is ever given so it ends up feeling like a huge deus ex machina created to bail the author out of a jam with one of the main characters.
At the end of the day…
This well paced creature feature SHOULD be a fantastically fun read for fans of that genre. If you enjoy the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type of monster and horror stories, it should be right up your alley. There’s the oft used, and very enjoyable, “monster in the lake” trope in which a horrible monster presents itself as a beautiful woman to lure in unsuspecting people. We even get the “monster infects one or two people so that they can do the monsters bidding from there on out” trope. All fun horror story ideas I typically would enjoy.
Rolfe maintains a solid pace from start to finish that had me flipping pages because it all seemed so dire, I needed to see what happened next.
But, the amount this book suffers from poor or non-existent editing, nearly forced me to DNF this book and left me wholly disappointed after finishing it. At the end of the day it feels like a fun idea in need of a good edit and a little polishing to make it a fantastic read, but as it stands right now it’s just not there. At least not for me.
Becoming by Glenn Rolfe gets 2 out of 5 stars.
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