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Help keep the words flowing.
At a perfectly surface level, this is a fairly classic superhero tale. Graham is half Bruce Wayne, half Tony Stark, though he’s got more brains than the two put together. (Plus a few more for good measure.) We have the arch-nemesis. We have the Avant Guardian, the well-meaning but usually useless “helper” hero. There’s a girl. (There’s always a girl.) And we have a climax to blow the roof off of a tall building, with a lovely dash of betrayal mixed in. All the necessary pieces for the superhero genre.
What sets VERBOSITY apart is that it doesn’t rely too strongly on those tropes, while still acknowledging that they exist. Alex would most likely be perfectly happy to only be the antique book guy; he fights as the Grammarian because he feels he has to–because there is a debt to be paid, and he knows he can never truly pay it. Kate Hunter isn’t some damsel in distress; she’s a strong character in her own right, with her own plot twists to reveal that have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman or even a potential romantic interest. (Also, I like how she and Alex are handled at the end, but again, spoilers.) No one is introduced just to be introduced; each character serves a purpose–something I’m always very aware of, and appreciate when authors make a point of using each person intentionally.
Because both the Grammarian and Professor Verbosity fight using language memes, it relies (logically) on grammar and sentence structure. My failing: somehow, through 2 writing degrees, I have never been made to take a grammar course. I never learned the words; I don’t have the vocabulary to follow. Also, Alex Graham’s IQ is over 200, and mine is decidedly not. In the simplest of terms: I’m not smart enough to keep up with Alex or the Grammarian. Part of me wants to critique that, and say that there is a certain level of arrogance in writing a book that is (somewhat) strictly designated for “smart people/readers” and saying to hell with the rest of us. The rest of me hates when writers dumb down to match the lowest common denominator, and thus I have no argument. So since this is a problem solely with me, I don’t fault the book for it.But in conclusion, the book gets a thumbs up:
All in all, VERBOSITY’S VENGEANCE is a wonderful book with a fascinating main character, and I’d highly recommend it. And if you know grammar better than I do, well, then you’re probably more the person Noland would rather have reading his book.You know who I'd LOVE to have reading my book? YOU! It's only $0.99, so why hesitate? After all, you might even like it! And if not, give it to your English lit professor, or the moderator of your MFA seminar series. They're SURE to like it!
Kate Hunter is a woman with secrets, and the effort of keeping them from the people around her is slowly driving her insane. If her colleagues at the university knew about her superpowers, her career as a scientist would be over. If her mentor and friend, the Grammarian, knew about her true motives in pursuing a hidden life as a crime-fighter, he'd be forced to become her worst nightmare. And if the world knew her deepest secret of all, she would never see her family again. With time running out, she must decide which secrets to guard, whose trust to betray, and whose life to save.It's an act of courage for me to sign up for NaNoWriMo. It requires me to ignore all the rational parts of my brain which, in looking over my schedule of obligations for November, goes utterly berserk with red flags, alarm klaxons, and dire warnings. They go something like this:
"It’s an interesting take on a genre that Hollywood is wringing the life out of, and a good bit of escapism."Can't ask for more than that for a $0.99 ebook, now can you?
"Grammarian’s inner circle, including his retired superhero mentor, a thoroughly irritating superhero friend, and a possible love interest, which gives us a storyline that takes a satisfying turn."Love interest? Irritating superhero friend? With emotional evocation like that, how can you not give it a try? With this review, the aggregate score is 4.5 stars out of 5. Come on... you know you want to!
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty - perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
"I have never seen a work of fiction so perfectly capture the out-of-nowhere shock of discovering that you've just bricked something important because you didn't pay enough attention to a loose wire."Yes, this. Exactly this. If you haven't read "The Martian", you should. It's a gearhead's triumph dream.