Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sprite by Leigh Michael

Annabelle Walsh thought she had it all. She was the star of her swim team, had a loving family, a great boyfriend, and to top it off, she’d be starting at UCLA in the fall. One day, she’d be referred to as Dr. Annabelle Walsh.

She was living every girl’s dream – until her life was turned upside down. All starting with finding out that she's not just a human, but also a water spirit. Half-human, half-sprite to be exact. Although not just any sprite, Annabelle is prophesied to be the only one who can save both the sprites and mankind.

With a mix of current events, anecdotes from Greek mythology, tidbits of folklore, and Leigh’s own imagination, we join Annabelle in her journey to restore order beneath the sea. Each step of the way her mind, body, and soul are pushed to the limit begging the question, how much can one half-human, half-sprite take? (from GoodReads)

I hate to say this, but sometimes there is a reason why you have to self-publish a book. I know that there are plenty of self-published novels that are great reads and it's unfortunate that they do not have the opportunity to get a big publisher behind their book. But if Leigh Michael tried to get her book published by a company (I'm not sure if she did or not), then I understand why they might have said no.

This is not meant to be mean at all, but no one should publish a book that reads as though it is a first draft and rough outline. Sprite is only 150 pages, which is the perfect length for some stories. However, this series was not mean to be written in novellas, especially because it's fantasy. Sometimes fantasy needs the space of a full novel and I felt that while reading. Sprite takes place mostly underwater, which is a huge change from normal stories. There was no world-building and very little detail was divulged about this new world Annabelle finds herself in. It just seemed so fake. She didn't even try to describe what was going on. I can't even picture this sea world in my head because no adjectives were given to me. This lack of detail pervades other aspects of the story, including the characterization, plot development, and folklore. Because the story was so short, everything felt rushed.

Annabelle is supposed to be half-human and half-sprite, which is a rarity in this world. The mythology had the potential to be really cool, but it wasn't explained very well. Any information that was given to the reader was provided in a huge info dump that was extremely tedious to read. After just finishing Sprite, I can't even tell you what the whole point was. Apparently Annabelle is "the chosen one" but I really don't know. Also, I wish the author did more homework on swimming as a sport because as a swimmer I found several mistakes which did not help with my dislike.

Sprite ends on a cliffhanger and a surprise twist but I kind of guessed it beforehand. There are more books being written, but I am definitely not going to be reading them.

Rating: 2 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend

2012/CreateSpace/150 pages.


Leigh Michael said...

As the author of this novel, I'd like to say that I think Megan's review is spot on. The version of Sprite she read is little more than a first draft.

I'm leaving a comment so that other authors can learn from my mistakes. I didn't line up beta readers, I didn't do nearly enough rounds of self-edits, and I had my manuscript proofread before it was ready. In the end, I released Sprite to the public way too soon. I can blame it on a number of things: eagerness, fear, lack of industry knowledge, etc. Regardless, make sure you take your time. Be patient, be thorough, and present the best possible version of your story.

The version of Sprite that's available now is the novel I wish I would've waited to release.

Megan, thank you. Aspiring authors, learn from my haste.

Best wishes,
Leigh Michael

Leigh Michael said...

Megan, you're awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to reread Sprite: