Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Off Book by Jessica Dall


Twenty-year-old Eloise has learned all she can from the School, where characters live until joining their novels. No one knows genre and plot structure better than her, but despite her knowledge, she’s yet to be assigned to her own story. All her friends are off starting their lives with their authors—and if Eloise doesn’t get assigned soon, she’ll fade away, forgotten by all.

When she is offered a job at the Recording Office, instead, she takes the chance to write her own future. Suddenly living among the post-storied, Eloise meets Barnaby Fitzwilliam, a former romance novel hero who hasn’t lost any of his in-story charm. But just as their relationship begins to get serious, Eloise is sucked into a novel she was never meant to be part of, turning everything they thought they knew about their world upside down.

Now, caught where the only rules are made by authors and truly anything is possible, Eloise must find her way back home—or her life might end before she ever gets the chance to live it.

Set in an intriguing, unique world, OFF BOOK explores the story beneath the stories we all know and love, taking readers and characters alike on an adventure just waiting to be written.

Review

SPOILER-FREE


I loved the concept of the story, it's what drew me to want to read the story in the first place. I've not read many stories about characters waiting to have a story of their own and the idea of it intrigued me. I wanted to see and explore what the author had in mind for the characters.

The characters didn't quite hit me in the right places emotionally. I felt impartial to most of the characters. I suppose Barnaby is the one who I found most compelling because of his drive to help Eloise get out but I felt indifferent to Eloise. I could sort of sympathize with her and her situation but I felt that there wasn't enough at stake for me to care about any of the characters. I did like Alice though but she was a minor character.

I do think it's a unique read but I felt like it didn't quite live up to the expectations I had for it. The world building seemed incomplete and lacked in details. I couldn't imagine the world as vividly as I would have liked because it didn't allow me to fully immerse in the story. We don't get to see how or why people get chosen for the stories. We do sort of see it at the end but it wasn't satisfying enough for me.

The writing read as simplistic and I found I skimmed through the text as I read. I felt the writing needed more editing because I didn't feel like all the words used were significant to the story. Some of the dialogue seemed pointless and it lacked in descriptions. I wanted to know more about the world, the different departments and the people who ran it. 

Another issue I noticed but may be fixed in future editions is the interior formatting in my .ePub file. There were breaks mid-sentence which sort of bothered me as I read but wasn't a huge deal since I already was skimming the text. As a note, this may bother other future readers.


Overall, I think it's a fascinating concept but the execution seemed lacking to me but it may be different for others. If you like an "out-of-the-box" quick read then you might be interested in picking this story up.



3 out of 5 rating for me!

(A copy was provided for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)


About the Author


Jessica Dall finished her first novel at age 15 and been writing ever since. She is the author of such novels as Grey Areas and The Bleeding Crowd, the Broken Line Series, and a number of short stories which have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.



No comments: