At the start of the year, I decided to use a TBR Jar. But instead of doing one book for every month, I’m doing one for each category of my 105 Challenge. This time, I picked my book for challenge 12 (e-books) Moira: Abduction to Akrasia, by Lawrence Ambrose. I’m really hoping the next book I pick is a lot better than the ones I’ve had so far!
Moira Noonan is a physics major in her first year at the University of Illinois, Urbana, when the mother who deserted her fifteen years ago shows up one day on campus to give her a book: THE DIVIDED WORLDS: AN EXAMINATION OF THEIR CULTURES AND BIOLOGY.
“Read it,” her mom tells her, “and you’ll have your answers.” Then she departs, leaving Moira awash in anger and confusion.
Turning to the book, Moira at first assumes it is a fantasy novel, but its dry cataloging of different worlds and races read more like a zoological treatise or a military think-tank piece. Bereft of sword and sorcery or any action narrative at all, Moira didn’t see it moving up the bestselling ranks any time soon.
Her physicist-professor father, Patrick, doesn’t see it as any more than the fantastic ramblings of a deranged mind. Moira agrees, yet the book’s descriptions of Akrasians – two hearts, fast-healing, superior strength, and a killer immune system –apply hauntingly to her.
Encountering a detailed description of a summoning ceremony purported to be capable of transporting an Akrasian to Earth, Moira seizes on the opportunity to obtain hard evidence, and attempts to summon her own mother. As she performs the ritual, several of her college friends show up unexpectedly, and after the predictable hazing (“Are you a sorceress or a priestess?”) someone points out the beautiful blond woman now standing within the pentagram. The woman is not Moira’s mother.
Now Moira has her hard evidence. Unfortunately, she also has a very powerful and very pissed-off being on her hands. Mayhem ensues, people die, and one promising young college student is hauled through an inter-dimensional pathway into the brutal world of Akrasia.
Here’s the best thing about this book – it only took me a day to read. It didn’t take much concentration, so I whipped through it.
That’s about where the good things end. Ambrose tried to create a whole new world, Akrasia, to be the setting of this book. Bits of it were interesting. But the way she did it was pretty poor in my opinion. Moira was given a book by her mother, a creature who was from Akrasia. Then the first little bit of the book is Moira reading that book. It was like the worst possible case of telling not showing. I like to be dropped into a world, working stuff out as I see it. This was just a massive introduction before we got to the interesting stuff. I felt like I had to read a boring textbook for school before I was allowed to read for fun. And hardly any of it stuck in my mind. There was a lot of confusing names, like you’d expect in a new world, but since they were all dumped on my at once none of them stuck in my mind. If she’d shown me how they worked instead of telling me what they were, then maybe I would’ve remembered more. Once we were put into the action, she did it again! It took a while, but Moira eventually convinced the bipolar bad guy to help her. And then we had another huge info dump, that still didn’t stick in my mind at all.
“What bipolar bad guy?” you ask. Let me explain. Being a bad guy, you’d expect them to be… Well, bad. And she was, for a while. She kidnapped Moira, she killed all the other random humans, and anyone else who got in her way. Then all of a sudden she decided to be nice. Like I said before, she told Moira all about Akrasia. Why would you be that nice to someone you were planning to sell as a slave? I kind of liked her when she was ruthless. But unfortunately, that didn’t last. Neither did she, for that matter. She was just one of a huge side cast that disappeared as son as they’d helped move the plot along. I never got a chance to really like any of them.
She did something else that made me mad. She tried to introduce a theme in the book. A really, really obvious one. Themes are things you find in English class, or accidentally when you start really thinking about the book. But this book lacked all of that subtlety. Literally all of the Akrasians went on about how awful humans were. They would cut the end off someone, and then go on about how they weren’t bad people, HUMANS were. Humans are always at war. Humans all obey laws and politicians. Humans have so much wrong with them, you should definitely change. We don’t really have freedom. Not like they do on Akrasia. This was all being said to a slave, by the way. It didn’t make me question humanity, it made me question why this book couldn’t be interesting.
Moira, though, was actually kind of cool. She wasn’t incredibly unique – I’ll forget about her in a few months. But she did ask a lot of questions, which I liked. I know, most heroes do, but generally not in the face of death like she did. It was pretty stupid, but nice to read. Although, don’t you worry, Ambrose went and ruined that too. She wasn’t curious because she was a cool main character. She was curious because she was part Akrasian. I have to say, that made me a little upset. So much for saving the book.
Like I said before, this was an e-book. So I’m only just noticing how creepy the book cover is! I got this for free. This is definitely not something I would usually pick up in a book shop, especially with that weird cover art.
I could keep going on and on about what was wrong with this book. Don’t worry, there was A LOT more. But lucky for you, I think I better stop now. Hopefully, I’ve put you off enough. If I haven’t, just ask me for more criticisms. I’d be more than happy to keep going!