“The Ark of Adams” – by Jack Kane

The Ark of Adams CoverThe Ark of Adams contains an interesting premise; not original as such, but intriguing just the same. In a world where a mini-ice age has arrived and a pandemic sweeps the globe, could humanity escape into a newly created virtual utopia within a network of machines. What would that world be like?

This book started out well. I liked the idea; I liked the immediate sabotage of utopia and I liked the initial storyline where the main protagonist attempts to reverse her “reset” status before it’s too late, helped by a mysterious hologram. The book itself has two self-contained stories and two resolutions with the main character common to both. The first would have made a great end to the book, the second was a bit of a muddle – but still interesting.

There was a great deal of technical jargon thrown around which may not be to everyone’s taste, but it was an interesting attempt to use purely technical/system administration language to explain some rather more complex ideas involving virtual landscapes, events and people. I’m not entirely sure if the jargon was used entirely logically, but I was quite happy to push a more critical appreciation aside in favour of enjoying the story.

The story involved a few twists and turns, the first major one being predictable but entertaining, the second being very predictable but still entertaining.

I believe the author must have had some interest in martial arts as there is one large chunk of the book describing the protagonist’s training in Kung Fu. This section goes into quite a bit of detail about balance, and different fighting techniques. I felt that the author wanted to share his own love of this particular martial art with the reader. It did drag on for too long and I think it could have been effectively handled in half the words. I felt a bit like I was the captive audience of a Bruce Lee fan force-feeding me his movie collection.

However, there was a much bigger issue in this book than the author’s fascination with martial arts manoeuvres. It was impossible to ignore that the writing itself is very poor. By poor I do not mean that there are a few typos or the odd awkward sentence. This is a broad assault on the written language that was painful to experience. At the beginning of the novel I started highlighting examples, but eventually I gave up feeling like I would end up with more sentences highlighted than not.

Quite often the crime was incorrect word usage:

Border skirmishes and long waged civil wars incurred frequent, with blood lust.

She climbed out of bed slowly, her waking coordination making her slippers slide onto her feet more difficultly than normal.

“You’re just going to get caught if you ever really accessing the core…”

Her mind considered only of the food and water that she has passed by.

She drank long from her canteen before succumbing to her weary.

Its street light shown bright into the night.

There are so many of these mishaps throughout the book that I found myself subconsciously correcting as I read. The prose was also littered with awkward phrasing and bizarre word choices:

Near asphyxiation and fearing that she might be buried alive, she coughed and gasped for air before the storm as suddenly as it had arrived ceased at once.

The door to the room opened to the side as a light began to fade up.

The corner street lamp glanced reflection from off her boots as she walked.

Nikki advanced, wrapping her right forearm about his one-time as it reached out to soften his descent.

Fireball and concussion rifled shattered televisions, reflecting nascent video image, hurtling past her.

Emerging into the hallway she could see the approaching wooden doors nearing.

Nikki took long, deliberate strides. She felt much of the same confidence that she had the first time that she had assumed her assumed persona…

Getting back into the cab in a huff, she turned in double take to notice Pete, whom sat mouth open. His fleshy, mucus filled, laborious breathing repulsed her near as much as the new odor which now roiled its’ way between rotting teeth.

…he smiled back at her through a missing eye tooth.

This routine procedure that during her tenure as a DIT employee had seemed more of an annoyance, now raised hairs on her neck as dread of the notion that she might yet be caught before ever having cleared security unnerved her.

Nikki smiled back and agreeably assigned her posterior.

Unfortunately, this is a very small sample of the confused and sometimes incomprehensible expression within this novel.

I felt that the author had a great idea but was under-equipped  to execute it. This novel would need a pretty serious rewrite probably with the aid of a co-author before I would consider it publishable. As it is, the story alone would probably get 3 stars, but because of the very poor writing, I can only give a very low rating.

Rating: 1.5/5

Price at the time of review: $1.95 US

Available: Amazon

Author site: Unknown
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9726848-the-ark-of-adams

This entry was posted in 1.5, Novel, Reviews, Science Fiction and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “The Ark of Adams” – by Jack Kane

  1. Good and balanced honest review. Every time there’s an awkward word used or it’s not clear which subject is doing what action, it jolts the reader out of the book. It’s like having a shaky camera in a movie where you’re not sure what you’re watching anymore. From the examples you pulled, it *is* an assault on the written language and it would make any prose lover cry. I see that it needs a lot of work with regards to punctuation, word usage (especially verbs), sentence structure, and maintaining a consistent subject in the same sentence. This book would definitely turn me from an enthusiastic reader to a cranky editor.

    E.g. “The corner street lamp glanced reflection from off her boots as she walked”. This sentence makes it seem like the lamp is looking at her with eyes. It should be “As she walked, the corner street lamp’s light glanced off her boots.” I’m not even sure of the original sentence is really about the reflection of the lamp or it’s shining its light at her boots, because if it’s a reflection, then those must be some crazy mirror boots.

    Just curious, did you see these problems in the sample, or is the sample mostly clean and the problems take place after?

    • Caleb says:

      Hi Frida,

      Unfortunately, I didn’t read the sample for this book. It was one I already owned and had decided to read/review it. Once bitten, twice shy though.

  2. GraceKrispy says:

    Great review! I attempted this book a while back. In spit of the initially promising storyline, the awkward and unclear language killed it for me. I don’t often stop reading a book before I’ve finished, but I just didn’t make it through this one. I was actually reminded of what happens when you put a sentence into one of those online language translators.

    I don’t read samples generally… you’d think I would learn my lesson by now!

    • Caleb says:

      From now on I’m strictly a sample guy. I’ll read the sample, determine if I’m going to review it and then schedule it.
      The problem here was that I’d already put it in my review schedule and my rule is – if I’ve scheduled it, I read it.

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