This review was written for Kellan Publishing. The book may be purchased here: http://kellanpublishing.3dcartstores.com/From-the-Center_p_28.html#
From The Center by Stephen Faulkner opens in a psychiatric hospital with our main character, Elmore, introducing himself and his roommates. I am afraid the review of this book must start on a negative note, but thankfully, like the novella itself, it won’t stay that way for too long.
(Please bear in mind that I write this only with the author’s best interests at heart, and I do understand the difficulties involved in writing a good book. I do this review for his benefit, so that he may improve in his work and go on to better things, and for you the reader’s benefit, so that you may know what this book may bring up in terms of enjoyment.)
The prologue of this book should have been left at the writing desk. It takes the story nowhere and it’s a shame it is there to put off any reader that may enjoy the rest of the book. Personally, it was the lack of writing skill that really shook me off wanting to read the rest, and if I hadn’t chosen to review it I would not have continued. The way we are introduced to ‘the other crazies and losers’, as Elmore puts it much too apathetically, is bland. Small hinting details could be given here to whet the readers’ appetite; with possible expansion on them later. Maybe history between some of the inmates could be in there (if placed carefully)? Something needs to be added to these people, because that’s what they are. They are people, and people have depth. Depth which is not found at all so far. As well as this there are several instances of dodgy sentence structures, stray ‘and’s, some carelessly placed punctuation, and bland uses of adjectives. There isn’t even a metaphorical image added in when the opportunity to do so is present.
This only brings us up to the first chapter. Though the same basic problems are present, it begins to improve here as we are exposed to an interesting development in Mr Faulkner’s tale. Elmore is in Nowhere (wherever that may be). As mentioned, the writing is not the best it could be and we don’t learn too much more about our character than we did in the prologue. He pees himself a lot, and is too horny (which puts me off reading it more than the lack of character development does. This sort of thing, if written at all, should be written with great care and consideration for the audience). The first chapter is very short, so we are swiftly on to the next.
(A short note here: I think you could safely skip up to this point and still be in the loop; which gives further case for them to be dropped.)
(Here’s where it gets better) By chapter two the writing has improved vastly, the main character develops, and we have a supporting character given to us who adds something worthwhile to the story. It is here that I finally WANT to read the story; rather than continue to trudge through it in order to write this short review. I begin to tear through the pages and digest, with reader’s delight, all the way through to Part II. Stephen Faulkner starts to open up, and write an interesting story; with imaginative ideas that are employed well and that I enjoy.
In closing I would say that anyone wishing to read this novella should skip to chapter 2, as that is where the story really begins, and that I am now most keen to read the rest of the book myself. I hope you will join me on this adventure ‘From The Center’.