Monday, May 20, 2013

H2O: A Review

Title: H2O
Series: The Eternal Elements #1
Authors: Austin Boyd
& Brannon Hollingsworth
Genre: Adult Allegory/Urban Fantasy

Ratings: Craft—2, Content—3,
Overall—2.9 out of 5 stars

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of H2O:

Water spilled over the blade of my knife like liquid silk. Flushed by the stream, raw fish swirled down the kitchen drain on a mysterious journey, headed back to Puget Sound and home. Fluid poetry gushed from the tap, beauty rinsing away grime. I held my hand under its caress, entranced. Water was too special, too eternal, to be so common.

“Aren’t you finished yet?” Xavier asked, shaking his head as he peered into the kitchen sink of my Seattle condominium, just arm’s distance from the fish I prepared. “I can’t believe people eat this stuff.”

I dangled a fresh slice of buttery-rich raw tuna before him and winked. He jerked back as though contact with beady-eyed water creatures might taint him. Perhaps he feared that one brush against piscine slime would transform him into a rough guy on the wharf or a wrinkled old man sitting by a pond with a cane pole.

“Skip the drama, Xavier,” I said with a laugh, biting into the sweet flesh. I brushed bangs out of my eyes with the back of my hand and waved another slice of tuna in his direction. He ignored me.

“My guests will be here in a half an hour,” he said, retreating toward the den. “The main dish still has scales on it.”

“You can’t see tuna scales, X. So, quit worrying. I’ll be ready.”
A successful business woman’s life falls apart when her every contact with water starts sparking unwanted visions.
The Craft: H2O is a novel that is nearly as hard to grasp as the liquid it focuses on.
The premise is intriguing (how far would you go to avoid a necessity of life if you felt it was making you insane, literally?), and the varied cast, while not the most remarkable, is distinct.
Despite this, the plot finds no traction. The opening is convoluted and slow while the middle flat-lines and fails to raise the stakes. The heavy symbolism and mystical atmosphere squashes many of the other high tension points.
Overall, H2O was a story with high potential. But with no outstanding elements and overbearing symbolism which confuses rather than adding depth, the novel felt like a disappointment.
The Content: With the heavy symbolism, you would think H2O would be rife with meaning and unexpected gems of truth. This does not seem to be so, at least for me.
Maybe because I struggled to find traction with the story itself I missed the depths of truth being conveyed. However, for me, the story seemed to be little more than a “be washed and you shall be clean” conversion story with no truly fresh insights. It has a couple other subthemes dealing with wealth/success and parentage/upbringing, but like the main theme, these seem to offer nothing that makes me go, “I’ve never thought of it like that.”
In other elements, there’s no violence to speak of, and no swearing as far as I remember. The protagonist is in a sexual relationship outside of marriage and there are references to past such relationships, but all sexuality is off the page. The visions are the only supernatural element, which seems to basically fit the boundaries set out in Scripture.
Summary: H2O does not contain anything to warrant caution. Nor does it contain anything to recommend it, making it a uninspiring and somewhat forgettable story in my book.
Ratings: Craft—2, Content—3, Overall—2.9 out of 5 stars

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