Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong - James W. Loewen Initial reaction: I actually did end up shadow reading this. In sum, I think as a serial novel it had quite a few issues. It wasn't the worst I've read, but I've read better. It also goes to show that if you have a preface in front of your novel explaining to your readers why your work is supposed to be "captivating and fulfilling" and "fun and exciting" - it means you don't really have a good grasp of letting the reader come to their own conclusions of what your work is supposed to communicate. I think Cassie Clare had the same problem with "Shadowhunters and Downworlders" and Dismuke has the same problem with this particular segment of "Darkness and Daemons."Suffice to say, it has horror elements that could build into something interesting, but the writing doesn't support it with its tell versus show display and cardboard, typified characterizations.Full review:I really can't say how much mettle it's taking me to write this review in particular. This read in particular had a fair share of controversy surrounding it, and somehow I ended up being a part of it without even realizing how expanded it would be, even with initially deciding not to read it, stating my reasons (which included the author's actions being tied with this respective work) and leaving it alone for the most part, there were people who decided that they wouldn't be okay with my reasons for leaving it alone and stating so. *exhales slowly*But if there's something to be said about 2013 - it's a new year. It's a step in another direction for a lot of different things, with promises for better things and opportunities. One of the reasons I decided to pick this particular story up was not only because of the fact that I decided to challenge myself to reading ten books off my "not-my-cup-of-tea" shelf this year, if it were possible for me to get copies of some of these books (if I didn't already own or have them), but also because of two other reasons. One, being called names and belittled or showcased in a negative light in a public spectrum does not deter me from reading and/or not reading a work and giving my honest two cents about it either way. Two: this was 19 pages long - it's pretty darned short and curiosity always does me in. =/This was actually a free read (mediocre cover job notwithstanding) that I got from Amazon and I decided to heck with it and read it for what it offered. Mystery/Suspense/Horror and ties to the supernatural are usually right up my alley, so it's not as if this work wouldn't appeal to me in theory, but my mind kept going back to the very poorly written excerpt that I saw in the Kindle preview and I thought this wouldn't be anywhere close to being my cuppa (which was why I marked it in the first place, along with actions of the author in context, but I figured I was over the drama and I'd rather not get into that here.)I swallowed my qualms and read it anyway.Turns out I wasn't too far from being right about my disappointment with it, but I did think it started showing signs of potential in the horror setting as it went along, particularly with describing the creatures that came to surface later in the work. It wasn't enough to save the story because of how mediocre the writing was. It's pedantic, very surface in the POV, and contains cliched characters that I couldn't get a good handle on for anything, even in this brief read. It didn't make me connect to them at all.The first thing I'll say is that this book neither needed a preface, nor the initial profile chapter of Jennifer. They were weak presentations and distracting. The preface was an introduction of what "Darkness and Daemons" would be in its five part installment. Letting the reader know that it would be a serial novel was fine, but writing out to the reader that the read would be "captivating and fulfilling" and "fun and exciting" and why it would be that way just completely rubbed me the wrong way.As a rule of thumb, a reader should be able to come to their own conclusions about what a story promises and offers - that's usually the work of the writing of the story in itself. Telling your reader what to expect is not only breaking the intrigue of finding out what it offers, but also breaking a fourth wall and isn't typical practice for a work of fiction at all, let alone wise. It makes it come across as pretentious even if that may not have been the intention. I felt the same way about Cassie Clare's "Shadowhunters and Downworlders" non-fiction compilation which I read last year. The authorial voice needs to be tapered back so that the writing(s)can do their job of speaking for themselves.The second thing that I noticed reading the very first part of this story was that it set up something of an initial character profile with Jennifer's character. I'm guessing that's kind of a theme that will be through each of the five parts of the serial novel. She's one of five teens that are featured in this particular story, but Jennifer's profiling is not the true start of the story, not like I had believed when I read the preview by itself. Jennifer is pretty much an airheaded FP (first person) character whose presentation is scattered in her narrative. I didn't like the voice or inclusion at all, because it was pretty much wasted space of info dumping that could be provided in context with the actual story (which part of it was, so it was redundant). The only piece of information that I got that was new out of that Jennifer noted that she was a black belt and she didn't want her boyfriend to know because she knew he liked to be in charge and didn't like that sort of thing. *rolls eyes*If Dismuke was looking to create a strong, likable female character out of Jennifer at first glance, he failed miserably. She doesn't get much better as the narrative goes on.The narrative then shifts to third person for the true start of the story, showing five teens stuck on the road trying to get to the campgrounds. There's a bit of fat shaming of a character and girl-hate-girl attempts for humor that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at with reading, but the ultimate story has Jennifer, among the teens, observing a strange light that doesn't seem to affect the others, but the van they're in runs out of oil and they have to go to a nearby station to get more. Then the weird stuff starts happening and odd creatures come out of the woodwork. Some of the descriptions of the creatures look like they have promise, but the way it's written is a bit muddled, and I'll admit I had to re-read a few sections to get my bearings as to what exactly happened with the invasion. When I got the flow of the story, it ended rather abruptly, and I would say that the not only there was a lack of any deep POV for any of the characters for the horror to hit home, but also that the presentation of the horror elements don't really go past your typical D-grade horror flick. I don't know if it really has the promise of improving past this point because there's not that much to cling to. Another thing that bothered me was that the author's description of each teen was rather pedantic in terms of what they look like and supposedly who they were. It was a short read, but I didn't feel immersed into the plight nor visualize the characters very well here. You can actually do that with a serial novel in a short span of time if the narrative supports it, but here it didn't feel like it popped off the page that much. Overall, I think this wasn't a very strong start to a serial novel and I didn't find it "fun" or engaging at all. I think it still needed to go on the cutting room floor to address a number of issues to give it a fuller feel for the read. Even with being a horror/suspense/thriller fan, I'd take a pass on this.Overall score: 1/5