Monday, January 12, 2015

MG Book Review: Wishing Will, by Daniel Harvell

General Information
Publisher: self-published
Year of publication: 2014
# of chapters: 17 + epilogue
# of pages: (e-book)
Genre: Fantasy

Plot summary (from website):
Outcast middle schooler Will Cricket wants a new look, popular friends, cool parents and enough coordination to dribble a basketball - but he never actively pursues any of it. Instead, Will makes wishes.

When the magical wishing corporation known as the Sky Castle Network and Enterprises (a.k.a. the SCENE) agrees to grant him his ultimate wish to be someone different, he must work for his reward. Becoming a super-powered agent for the organization, Will teams up with a celestial wish agent with delusions of Hollywood stardom, a shape-changing half-Genie, a narcoleptic Dreamweaver and a stick-in-the-mud wish lawyer.

Together, they grant the wishes of Will’s classmates and family members, helping the same people who pick on Will every day. As if these challenges weren't enough, there's a mystery surrounding his peculiar grandmother and a malevolent force bent on enslaving humanity. Will might have to fight not only for his wish but also for the entire world!

Positive Points
I love the theme of wishing throughout the novel (starting with the title): shooting stars, repeated numbers, wishbones, four-leaf clovers, and expressions such as "Be careful what you wish for."

The plot hooked me from the first few pages. I couldn't put it down, despite the negative points listed below. What a fantastic story! The main character, an overweight kid who is basically a nobody at the beginning of the book, has to grant seven wishes in seven days anonymously, using one different special ability each day (which he discovers on that very day), in order for his own wish to come true. I totally loved it! And Will's character growth throughout the novel was a big plus (no pun intended).

The characters were interesting ... okay, a little wacky, but I found them original and fascinating, especially Tang (short for Tangible), the half-genie kid with changing hair color; Hollywood, the star (no, literally!); and the crazy grandma, who made me laugh so much!

Negative Points
I ran across some formatting, grammar, and spelling mistakes. In my Kindle version, the text was in two different font sizes, randomly alternating between small and medium, which was quite distracting and could have been caught with one simple proofread. Normally, numbers up to one hundred are spelled out in fiction works. Other grammar and spelling mistakes, such as Spider-Man (should be one word), were sprinkled throughout the story. Nothing that can't easily be fixed with a light proofread, but it was distracting.

The writing could have been stronger at times. It was pretty good in general but some dialogues seemed forced, stating facts the characters should already know, more for the sake of informing the reader.  Some action scenes were not realistic; for example, Will's door cracks open, but before his dad gets in, a whole lot of action happens. How long does it take to open a door? There were redundant details and telling at times, such as "(...) so bright he couldn't see anything. Effectively blind, (...)"

What makes this book unique
The theme about wishing and the use of superpowers are what I found the most interesting. That, and the crazy grandma. And Tang. Okay, I'll stop.

Overall Impression
I just wish this book had been traditionally published. Even with the use of a professional editor, self-published authors run the risk of publishing a book with errors and spots of poor writing, which one single editor can't catch in one single pass. But despite the negative points I mentioned, which might have caused me to put a book down and not review it, this was definitely worth my time. With a little more polishing, it could potentially become a bestseller. And judging by the epilogue, I think there might be a sequel coming. I hope there is!

My Rating:

Thinking of purchasing this book? I'll make it easy for you:

No comments:

Post a Comment