Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-690-6
They call me The Hunter. I kill people for money.
Assassination is an acquired skill. I’m good at it. I should be, I’ve had enough practice. To call it “pride” isn’t entirely accurate, but I will admit to a certain twisted satisfaction at being near the top of the Galactic Federation’s “Most Wanted” list. My reputation allows the luxury of selection in my choice of assignments, and my fee is beyond the reach of all but the most serious candidates.
Which brings me here. To the forty-seventh floor of the Galaxy Hotel in the city of Dasrajhi, the capital of the Rigian System.
The above is the first three paragraphs in SL Partington’s Hunter, the first book in a series called The Assassin Journals, and the author’s first-person narrative style is already getting on my nerves.
The Hunter is Gage Brassan, who is currently on a mission to assassinate the President of the Rigian System. But for reasons unknown, he has an attack of conscience and ends up on the run from his former buddies. Tagging along are some kid named Jak and a potential love interest named Joanna.
It is hard to get involved in a story when the big turning point, of Gage discovering a conscience, is summed up so succintly by the author like this:
I could do it again.
I would do it again.
But something about Vance Delaren struck a chord in me that I couldn’t escape or ignore. It wasn’t enough anymore just to kill him. It had suddenly become very important to know if he was for real, or if it was all bullshit.
Character motivations are often vague. Things often happen “suddenly”, like the scene above. Reading this story is like watching puppets that have no clear independent thought being made to dance to some song that only the author can hear.
Also, the entire story is written in short sentences. Like this. It’s annoying, really. It’s like reading some emo kid’s Livejournal entry. Who is trying too hard to sound profound. But failing. Miserably.
Perhaps some readers will be charmed by the author’s voice. If the author has varied her sentence structures more often, she could have affected some kind of flippant Sam Spade style of first-person narration here. But as of now, after reading Hunter, I don’t think the author has reached that stage yet. This one comes off really embarrassingly at places like someone’s amateur fanfiction that somehow manages to get itself published. The author has some ideas, but the character development is severely limited and one-note while the technique displayed here is really amateurish.
Maybe I’ll see this author around when she’s grown up and gained more experience, so to speak.