Writing novels is not for the faint of heart. There’s the idea sorting, and planning, and then submitting, and then publishing… and then the bad reviews. After all the hours poured into the novel, and then in promoting and publishing it, you have to watch or read as someone tells you it’s not perfect, and then points out everything wrong with your masterpiece. Taking this well, especially on your first book, is very hard. But that’s what Griffin Keener did when I gave him a review that was less than kind (see “Waters of Iwingee”). He even took the time to write an article saying how much he appreciated the feedback. I thought that was so cool, I thought I’d share it with everyone. http://griffkeener.tumblr.com/post/72702504800/everybody-loves-a-critic-or-at-least-they-should
One of the most important parts of a book is a good story, and Griffin Keener’s debut novel, The Waters of Iwingee, has a good story, and a lot of potential. When Kail and Mani’s grandmother and only close relative goes into a coma, they get transported into the world of Milele, where they find out that they are the heirs of Iwingee. They have to go through many trials to get the waters of Iwingee to get back home and to save their grandmother, with the help of warriors, fairies, bushmen, and a magic bracelet, as well as their own smarts and sarcastic wits.
The title of the book intrigued me, and the basic story was very good and fairly original. However, I don’t consider this a must-read book. The humor often fell flat, and the dialogue seemed forced at times, not to mention it was a little narration-heavy. It wasn’t until halfway through the book that I started to actually care about Kail and Mani. The story does get better, but the beginning had a hard time of keeping my attention, and at times it was hard to follow with what exactly was happening. The story was actually like a dream. There are moments of clarity and everything makes sense as long as you don’t question or look too closely at what is happening. Keener has the potential to be a strong storyteller, once he takes the time to hone his skill. But for his first book, I wouldn’t go out of my way to read. But if you have some extra time and a love of fantasy, then you could do worse than The Waters of Iwingee.