KidPub story (imaginative, indeed)
Posted June 24th, 2014 by rebecca
A Book Review by Rebec
in Rivendell, the only place in Middle Earth that gets Wi-Fi
The thing with KidPub stories is that they are, by very nature, childish. There have been some rare gems (I remember, after I first joined, there was one written by Kiwara) and some interesting ideas, but making a KidPub story work is difficult. I mean, look at me, I abandoned mine, entitled 'Collapse of Silver Shadows' about two years ago, maybe more. The problem is, no matter how awful the idea (and this idea is not actually that bad, just poorly executed at times), everyone wants in. Which means if you don't introduce them all at once, you get annoying comments like 'WAH I WANTED TO BE MAYN CHARAKTER HGOW DARES YOU WE ARE BESTIES YOU BETRAYTORER' (exaggeration for comic effect), and if you introduce them all at once, it's messy. Similarly, having too many first-person POV characters at once detracts from the story and makes it difficult to distinguish between characters. In this case, I would say it is necessary, and there are details setting each character apart (their alleigance, for instance, the people they associate with etc).
The story sets up a world where Perry is one of four brothers (a bit of a strange move) who each have their own website for a particular gift - KidPub, of course, being one, but KidArt, KidMath and KidMuse being others. These names draw attention to the silliness of KidPub's actual name - especially given that 'pub' is a colloquialism for a bar, so it sounds like Perry is nurturing junior alcoholics. That aside, I'm always wary of including Perry in stories, out of respect - it would be a little weird of me to write about a person I know nothing about as though he were a hero. My own KidPub story had a cameo at the beginning. Anyway, these fictional brothers are feuding, KidMath of course being the villains here. Mathematics is, of course, of the devil. There is a war occurring, and so the founder of each websites summons certain members (many of whom are also members of one of the other sites) and attack eachother.
This is all well and good, and quite interesting as KidPub stories go, less rife with cliches than others. However, it is also full of problems. To be honest, I'm not convinced about the 'brothers' idea, even though wars are definitely my cup of tea. And another thing - the KidMath people. Their magic. Shouting sums at people to zap them into unconsciousness? Sounds tedious. And annoying. Oh, and stupid. Seriously. What kind of magic is that? It would make far more sense of they used their Mathematics to build weapons of war. Mind you, it would make far more sense if they were riding on mathematical unicorns called Barbara. The story also suffers from its frequent changes of POV, which often just happen to include everyone, and add nothing to the plot. All of the POVs are necessary, but changing perspective needs to have purpose. It does not always. I did see frequent grammar errors, which a good editing process could easily smooth out.
This is going to be a short review because of the nature of the story. It's a KidPub story. There's very little to say, other than the fact I don't really like KidPub stories very much unless they are particularly great. Having said that, I've only ever been in a few of them and was disappointed. I did plan one about the ECC and the Great Clogging War, which I might write at some point - but that is a long gone era and is practically ancient history. This is what KP is now. Which I can be grim and irritable about, or shrug and get on with my life.
Anyway, three stars because it's a KP story. It's not inherently awful, but it has problems, like grammar errors and so on. When I give out three stars for something, by the way, it means it's okay. Nothing special. Two means bad. One means dire. I've only given something one star once. This story is decent, however, the Mathematicians are silly, the grammar is less than stellar, the brothers thingy is weird and cliched, the POV switches aren't quite right, the story on the whole needs more description, and I noticed an error in the name of the KidMath founder - in the first chapter he is called 'Mark', but later changes to 'Kayne'.
For the author:
"The larger the answer, the more impact" - doesn't make sense. Why don't they just do a million times a million, to make one trillion, which would obliterate all of us? Why don't they do that, instead as fluctuating between different results? The brothers idea is slightly cliched, but if you explain why they are feuding, perhaps with a prologue, it could work. Check your grammar. This comes naturally to me, but not all of us have this ability, so check it. Also, introduce all four websites first. Set the background for the story before telling it. Only swap POV when it is called for. Use more description. And please, rethink the KidMathematicians. Seriously. That magic is stupid. And annoying. And inherently flawed, as I pointed out. If you could explain how the magic from all sides works too, it would be useful. Thank you. Please keep writing this - but only if you think up a better title. This one is not a title. Even 'Collapse of Silver Shadows' (which is stupidly vague and metaphorical) or 'Journey on a Paper Ship' (which was a frankly awful story by an otherwise excellent writer, who happens to be a good friend of mine) were better than this. Even called a story 'Untitled' is better than this'. Think of a title, and you'll be ready to go.
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