Verdict: The Seven has the potential to be a great read considering its very new premise, but the writing style the author uses lacks any reasonable voice in YA literature.
One of the hardest things about writing and publishing a paranormal young adult fiction right now just might be the fact that everyone and his writing partner is trying to publish a paranormal young adult fiction book. After the financial successes of several book series and movie franchises in the last several years, the market was flooded with every imaginable creature using every conceivable power. The only way to garner attention and a readership is if your book is somehow different.
Derek Eddington does that quite well with The Seven. While there are elements of known works like I Am Number Four, such as the absent parents, the best friend assigned to watch over the main character, a strange and sudden development of paranormal powers, The Seven draws on a new premise involving a battle within all the of Earth’s personified elements in order to control the very powerful protagonist. However, the writing style itself presents a problem. From the start, I couldn’t tell if our main character was supposed to be a foreigner or an alien; he certainly does not speak or narrate the way a young man who has lived his entire life on Earth would speak. The lack of voice so vital to a teenaged character in young adult fiction made it very disorienting. The author’s vocabulary level and characterizations of the high school students left me wondering if he had ever actually met any high schoolers.
For example: “The anonymous black limo awaited us when we finally extricated ourselves from conversation with Jas’ father.”
No. That’s not how teenagers talk and it’s not typical of what they read. A YA male protagonist, especially one who has grown up on the streets eating what he can steal, would have been impressed at any limousine waiting outside for him. While he does not need to be portrayed as a stereotypical moron spouting the word “dude” after every sentence, this style of writing was prevalent throughout the book and made it very difficult to become absorbed in the characters.
There are some bright spots in the dialogue woven throughout the text, such as the best friend warning Caleb not to get himself killed because he has math homework to do and can’t come save him, and the main character rigging a coin toss with his ability to manipulate elements, but there are also some too-big-to-overlook proofreading errors, such as about ten pages of the text that were italicized for no reason. Overall, The Seven has a lot of potential but needs a lot of work before YA audiences can really appreciate it.
Reviewed by Mercy Pilkington for IndieReader
Purchase The Seven from Amazon