Friday, April 22, 2011

The Dork Review: Triptych

Wow, it's been a long time since I've reviewed a book. Two reasons for this. A lot of what I've been reading lately is either non-fiction or older stuff that really doesn't need a review. Also, I've been so wrapped up in my own writing I haven't had time to surface for air and read something else.

So, where to start on Triptych by J.M. Frey. Hmmmm... the first thing should be, what exactly is a triptych? Some of you might be thinking "Well, isn't that some kind of weird alieny thing-a-ma-jobbie?"

Actually no. A triptych is a work consisting of three painted or carved panels that are hinged together and was a popular standard format for altar paintings from the Middle Ages. The idea of three is a very important theme in this work, and is used by Frey overtly and subtly very well.

This is a book that has a definite message about gender politics, but it doesn't thump the reader heavily over the head with it. There's drama without descending to level of cheap melodrama. There's action, romance, betrayal, love and hate all mixed together in characters that come off as believable. Especially that aliens! That, for me, is the best part. Kalp, the main alien character of the book comes of not only as a believable, well-rounded individual, but at the same time you can tell that he's alien and that everything he sees is confusing and new, without feeling that Frey is just masking a human viewpoint with a few alien words or ideas. That is a feat that many authors would find difficult, and she pulls it off without seeming to break a mental sweat. Kudos on that!

However, as much as I enjoyed this book there were mechanical elements I found distracting or slightly frustrating. I'm probably more sensitive to these things right now as I'm working on my own novel, but I did find some of the action scenes felt lacking. They felt chaotic and unfinished, at least to me. A large part of that is likely due to the viewpoint character's being used, so it may be a stylistic choice that was made. Also, some of the descriptive sections early on seemed too long, but again, I think this is more a matter of preference than anything else.

I really did enjoy this book, and look forward to reading the next thing J.M. Frey releases. It can be found here on Amazon

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