Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Carnage: The Story of Us by Lesley Jones

   This really is just the story of Georgia. Yes, there is an “us” and there are several secondary characters but this is Georgia’s story. We meet Georgia when she is eleven years old. She is a spoiled, entitled, selfish brat. That is to be expected for most eleven year old kids. The problem is that in the nineteen years the book covers, Georgia fails to grow emotionally. She is incredibly unlikable throughout the book. Most readers will find this to be a problem. However, if you embrace Georgia’s personality as one that is not at all uncommon in humanity – you can accept her and your heart can break for her. Georgia is not a saint. She is about as far from perfect as you can get and that is actually refreshing in the world of romance novels. How many times does the saintly girl reform the man-whore in romance novels? How many times do we watch the perfect princess find true love? Carnage doesn’t give us that and maybe that is a good thing. Often times, I pick up a romance or erotic novel and feel that the only thing making it different from the book I just finished is the names of the characters and their occupations. Carnage doesn’t do that. This isn’t an average book with average characters and a predictable plot with a predictable ending. Carnage is wildly different and that is what I liked most about it.

     Even with all of Georgia’s faults, it was hard for me to not feel her pain and anguish and there is just about nothing but pain and anguish for poor, little Georgia. It takes serious story telling skills to take such an unappealing character and manage to get readers to cry over her losses. Lesley K. Jones manages this spectacularly.  Many of the primary and secondary characters experience heartache and loss in Carnage and with each moment of angst, my heart broke a little more until there was nothing left. It felt like the author ripped my heart out several times, stomped on it a few times and then just tossed it into a fire pit. For that, I love the book. It made me feel.

     Some reviewers hated the British language in Carnage, finding it difficult to understand or just irritating. I loved it. Few things irk me more than a British novel filled with American English. Yes, I had to look up a few words but I didn’t mind. It made the book feel authentic.  Other reviewers have pointed out the fact that there are countless grammar and punctuation errors in Carnage. They are correct. The comma overkill and run on sentences are very distracting and the book needs a much better editor. That said, let’s keep in mind that self-published authors don’t have the resources to pay for the type of editors that are working for publishers. Readers who buy self-published works need to be forgiving when it comes to editing. Consider it the cost of spending just a couple of dollars for a book over the several dollars you spend on a traditionally published novel.  If you can’t be forgiving, then skip the Carnage series because this one has more editing errors than your average Indie book.

          If you want something that strays far and away from the predictable formula of romance novels, this may be the book for you. The language is foul, the sex is explicit and drug use is frequent. If you want something sweet, innocent and perfect with just a touch of angst then look somewhere else. 


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